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Game 22: Devils @ Pittsburgh

I'm officially worried about this game, for reasons I stated in my last post. In summary of that entire post, it basically comes down to how they didn't put the Florida game out of doubt when they were dominating and how explosive the Pittsburgh Penguins are - both on offense in general and at coming from behind to win games. That John Madden is not playing, per Gulitti, isn't helping matters, but at least Mike Mottau is back from suspension.

However, I think the fortunes now look a little worse for the Devils. The surging Lithuianian beast of a forward, Crush Spacemaker Dainius Zubrus is sick. Gulitti has reported that he has a stomach flu, but he will play tonight. While it's heartening to see him want to play, he's clearly not 100%. The flu is probably going to affect how he plays; his stamina at the least must be affected. It's especially unfortunate given how well Zubrus has been playing as of late on a line with Patrik Elias and Brian Gionta.

As far as goaltending goes for the Devils; Scott Clemmensen will start tonight and Gulitti helpfully reminds us that history is not on the Devils' side here. Clemmensen got lit up badly the last time he started in Pittsburgh. He's been playing well; but he's also going to be facing a surging Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby among others.

A good primer for the game would be to read up on Frank's analysis of the Devils and his recap of last night's 4-3 loss to Buffalo. We, as Devils fans, can sympathize with Frank's frustration of his favorite team throwing away numerous power play opportunities. Though he can be rest assured in the Penguins getting it done on the man advantage at home. The Penguins are fifth in the league at home power play efficiency with a 23.2% rate. In short, the Devils would be very wise to condense the nonsense and avoid taking penalties when possible. Yes, the penalty killers were awesome against Florida; but Florida doesn't have Crosby and Malkin running the show.

In any case, the shoe was on the other foot, so to speak, as the Sabres came back to win it in the third. This can be seen as a good thing for the Devils in that it's recent evidence that the Penguins are able to lose their focus. If they find themselves down in the game, they should be at least somewhat motivated by the fact that their opponents last night came back to win it - no one says the Devils can't do the same, right? On the other hand, it can be seen as a bad thing. The Penguins definitely don't want to come out of this holiday weekend with no points and given that they are home, they'll be more fired up to get a result.

I'm still concerned about this game being the game that ends the streak. Let's hope I'm wrong. Feel free to discuss the game in the comments. Just keep it clean, keep it relevant, and keep it New Jersey.