The New Jersey Devils ladies and gentlemen! It's been very fun to watch this team so far this season and tonight was no exception. The Penguins were on the back end of two games in two nights and started their back up goalie Jeff Zarkoff. It would not have mattered who played goal tonight however, as the Devils were rolling all night long.
Play was not dominated by Pittsburgh in the first period, but they certainly generated more chances early on thanks in part to a couple of questionable penalty calls against the Devils. As per usual, Cory Schneider made some huge saves and New Jersey stayed hot on the PK. They killed off the first and nearly took the lead towards the end of the second with Travis Zajac springing Jacob Josefson for a break away. For some reason he attempted a shot instead of deking (which he has proven to be adept at numerous times on the shoot out) and Zatkoff was able to make the save. Moments later, the Devils came out of their zone on the counter attack with David Schlemko jumping into the rush to make it a 4 on 2. Adam Henrique tried to center a pass from the left side that was deflected, but Schlemko was able to tap in the loose puck in front. The net was knocked off as the puck crossed the line, but after video review the goal was upheld.
The Devils dominated most of the second period, which started with some relatively soft matching minors to LeTang and Bobby Farham, resulting in 4 on 4 play. The only thing to come of that was Kyle Palmieri going down awdwardly into the net and forcing off its morings. Thankfully he was ok and did not miss a shift. Soon after, Schlemko drew a tripping penalty on Malkin and the Devils were able to generate couple of good chances with the 6th attacker on before Pittsburgh gained possecion. The power play generated what my old coach used to call a "two goal swing". Sidney Crosby rushed down the ice on a quiasi 2 on 1 shorthanded. He fired a wrist short far side and Schneids came up with a big time blocker save. A few seconds later, Jordin Tootoo kept a clearing attempt in the Peguins zone and squeaked a pass to Mike Cammalleri, who was able to finish in a fashion that explains why he led the team in goals last season. With about 3 minutes left in the frame, the Penguins mounted their best attack of the game to that point, but Schneids stood tall. Eighty seconds later, Sergey "Power Move" Kalinin lead a rush that nearly resulted in a 3-0 lead for the home team, but after a lengthy delay, it was determined to be no goal and the period ended with the Devils up by two.
The Devils killed off nearly two minutes of a too-many-men penalty at the end of the second and Bobby Farnham rushed out of the box (after serving the bench minor) and put forth a great individual effort to score a somewhat fortunate goal. The Devils continued to dominate play after that point and generated a few good scoring chances and consecutive power play chances. From that point on the Devils just took control. Already leading 3-0, John Moore chipped a puck out of the defensive zone that Cammy was able to jump on and set up a 2 on 1 with Lee Stempniak, who buried one to make it 4-0. And the rest, as they say, is history.
The Opposition's Opinion: You can see what the Penguins fans thought here.
The Stats:Game stats here at NHL.com | Advanced stats here at The Natural Stat Trick
The Highlights: From NHL.com here are tonight's highlights:
The Offense: Allot to like about the forwards tonight. The top two lines delivered and Power Move Kalinin is starting to look like the real deal. All six top guys contributed and played well. Jacob Josefson had a pretty strong game as well and is just dying for his first goal. The fourth line scares me a bit every time they are on the ice, but if we can get Elias and Ruutu back healthy, we can only get better. Gionta had a short handed breakaway he didn't convert. I can laugh about him when we win but I cry about him when we lose.
The Defense: It is hard to find things to complain about after this win, but if I need to be critical I am not in love with Schlemko being on the power play. There is no doubt he has been improving since the beginning of the season but considering his goal tonight secured only the second multi-goal season of his career, it's not like he is an offensive powerhouse. It's not that he performed poorly in the role (rang a shot off the post for his would-be second of the night) but I would just rather see Larsson get some power play time and continue to evolve into the all-situation stud defenseman he is.
The Goaltending: Corey Schneider is to the New Jersey Devils what the Ronco Rotisserie Oven was to early 2000 infomercials. Always on, always good, and you find something new to like each time you watch. P.S. How nervous do you think he was with the 4th line on in the final minute against Crosby's line?
Final Thought: I still hear the "you suck" chant after we score, we need to stop…. Kidding, I'm just kidding. I don't want to stir that pot agian. But I LOVE Dano taking credit for Kate Hudson being at the game, King gonna King. Thanks for reading.