Friday, March 16, 2012

Game #70 - at New Jersey Devils

2011-12 Game 70

Pittsburgh Penguins (43-21-5, 91 points) at New Jersey Devils (41-25-5, 87 points)

Geno will need to remain assertive with Sid's return.  He got off to a good start against the Rangers.

Why does it matter?

A ten game winning streak, the return of Crosby and Letang, the overall health of the team... everything is coming up roses right now for the Pens.  It will all be for naught if the Pens lay a few goose eggs this weekend. They need to come out with at least three points, if not four, if they want to have a decent shot at staying in the #1 or #4 spots in the East.  Both the Devils and Flyers are breathing down their necks.

What has been happening lately?
  • Pens - Ten straight wins.  How long can they keep this up?  Hopefully for another few games, at least.
  • Devils - Five wins in six games, and Brodeur is hotter than ever.
Questions to be answered
  • Can the Pens get themselves fired up?  They need to carry some emotion into the game with them, because you know Jersey will try to put them to sleep.
  • Can the big guns score?  Newark has been a house of horrors in recent history for both Sid and Geno.  They'll need to find a way to break through.
  • Can the defense stay disciplined enough?  With the way Kovalchuk can and will float in the neutral zone, the D will need to be extra-aware of where he is.  Kovalchuk has 9 points in 4 games against the Pens this year.
Keys to the game
  • No screwing around in the neutral zone.  Get the puck and go north.  Keep it simple.
  • Score first (and second).  The Devils have been keeping the chances against to a minimum, so getting the first goal will help to bring them out of their trap.
  • Get traffic in front of Brodeur.  He's stopping everything right now.

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