Sunday, March 25, 2012

Game #75 - vs New Jersey Devils

2011-12 Game 75

New Jersey Devils (42-27-6, 90 points) at Pittsburgh Penguins (46-22-6, 98 points)

Matt Cooke - goal scoring machine!?!

Why does it matter?

It was only one loss, but if the Pens fall into a small skid here, they could find themselves facing Philadelphia without home ice advantage in the first round.  I think that's a situation that the team might rather avoid.

What has been happening lately?
  • Pens - Last night was the first regulation loss in over a month.
  • Devils - The only time they're winning in the past six games is when Brodeur throws a shutout.
Questions to be answered
  • Whose pain will be more motivating?  The Pens had a painful loss last night to the Sens, but the Devils have lost four out of six, including an embarrassing loss to the Pens where they were out shot 44-14.
  • What is wrong with the power play?  Not only did they look disjointed last night, they allowed a key short-handed goal.
  • How will the Pens respond?  It has been so long since their last loss in regulation - can they bounce back or will we see lots of guys making an individual effort to try to run the gauntlet?  That would be playing right into the Devils' hands, in my opinion.
Keys to the game
  • Team defense.  Focus on keeping the puck out of the danger areas.
  • Clean play in the neutral zone.  Last time, the Pens had no trouble shredding the trap.  Let's hope they can do it again.
  • Don't lose confidence.  Even if Brodeur is standing on his head, keep pushing.

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