Sunday, February 05, 2012

Game #53 - at New Jersey Devils

2011-12 Game 53

Pittsburgh Penguins (30-18-4, 64 points) at New Jersey Devils (29-19-3, 61 points)

Upper Deck has the best photography of any hockey cards by far.  Nothing else is close.

Why does it matter?

With a win today and a Flyers loss to the Rangers, the Pens can tie Philly for second place in the division and the #4 seed in the East.  Feels like it has been forever since the Pens were close to the top of the East, but they're almost back.

The Devils have been an offensive juggernaut over their last three games, averaging 5 goals per game.  They jumped out to a 6-0 lead over the Flyers yesterday.  The Pens will need to be ready.

What has been happening lately?
  • Pens - A great win over the Bruins in Boston.
  • Devils - Three wins in a row, with only average goalie play and excellent offensive play.  Who are these guys?
Questions to be answered
  • Can the Pens keep the Devils special teams in check?  The Devils have scored a power play goal in four straight, and four of their six goals came via either the power play (three) or the penalty kill (one).
  • Will the Pens be ready for another early start after a tough win yesterday?
  • Who will fight Kovalchuk?  I don't really expect him to fight, but he did pretty well against Schenn yesterday.
Keys to the game
  • Stay out of the box.  The Devils power play is lethal right now.  The best thing to do is avoid it entirely - no dumb penalties.
  • Stay patient.  The trap will frustrate most teams.  Dump the puck away from Brodeur and put in the hard work to go get it.
  • Get traffic in front of Brodeur.  Martin has been really good the last few games against the Pens.  Create a mess in front of him to make it more difficult.

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