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Devils fall 4-2 to Penguins as losing streak hits nine games

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NHL: New Jersey Devils at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

This will be a quicker game recap than the norm, due to limited availability on my part and no availability on the other writers parts.

Period One

  • (~13:00) Nice play by Sharangovich to find Hughes after he took the puck away. Hughes then tried to find Sharangovich for a pass, but that was stuffed. After a giveaway by Will Butcher immediately afterwards, a very good recovery to stop a potential two-on-one by Butcher.
  • (~10:00) Insane shot by Carter off a somewhat broken play beats Blackwood stick-side. 1-0 Penguins
  • (~9:45) Murray finds Hughes in the slot, who rips a shot at DeSmith. The shot is saved, but then Jesper Bratt finds the puck and attempts to make a play which skirts through DeSmith’s zone.
  • (7:09) Goal by Jared McCann on the power play. Fire Nasreddine, this is a disgrace. 2-0 Penguins
  • (1:37) Pavel Zacha held by Bryan Rust for first Devils power play. Zacha shot on left side handcuffs DeSmith, but is saved.
  • (Final Seconds) Surprisingly nice play by Connor Carrick to beat a Penguins defender, getting a partial breakaway on DeSmith. With time running down, Carrick is forced to shoot the puck, and DeSmith stops it. Period ends with the Penguins up 2-0.
  • Side note - Salvador’s play breakdowns continue to be amazing. Watching him break down the deficiencies in the penalty kill was extremely interesting and educational.

Period Two

  • (~19:00) McLeod beats Crosby on the faceoff, shot by Wood saved by DeSmith. Wood then tries to stuff puck in front of the net, which is stopped by DeSmith
  • (16:09) Rust called for holding Nico Hischier. Teddy Blueger shorthanded breakaway opportunity goes wide, leading to a Miles Wood two-on-one opportunity. Wood also shoots wide.
  • (12:30) As seems to be what happens in every game, a harmless slapshot from the point deflects off of Guentzel and Rust beats Blackwood. 3-0 Penguins
  • (11:15) Jack Hughes goal off of a somewhat broken play. Butcher pass hits off of Sharangovich’s stick and past three Pittsburgh defenders, finding Hughes. Hughes scores on an open net. 3-1 Penguins
  • (10:40) Jeff Carter breakaway misses net.
  • (7:03) Hischier wristshot saved by DeSmith.
  • (5:48) Hughes stickhandling leads to Johnsson one-timer, which is saved by DeSmith
  • (2:47) Deflection by Aston-Reese saved by Blackwood

Period Three

  • (18:34) Hughes backhand saved by DeSmith
  • (15:17) Zucker snapshot saved by Blackwood
  • (~14:45) Wood shot is saved by DeSmith. Bastian gets to rebound first, which is saved by DeSmith as well.
  • (9:47) Excellent positioning by Butcher to stop two-on-one chance with Crosby controlling the puck. Sharangovich shot is then stopped by DeSmith.
  • (9:02) Ryan Murray fakes out everyone with a fake shot, passes to Miles Wood. Wood one-times the shot into an open net to make it a game! 3-2 Penguins lead
  • (7:54) Good Letang opportunity stonewalled by Blackwood
  • (~5:00) Nick Merkley fights Jason Zucker, standing up for a heavy hit on Studenic
  • (4:46) Blackwood challenges Crosby, makes a good save
  • (0:02) Hischer chips puck wide, Crosby scores empty netter. Penguins win 4-2

The Game Stats: The NHL.com Game Summary | The NHL.com Event Summary | The NHL.com Play by Play Log | The NHL.com Shot Summary | The Natural Stat Trick Game Stats

The Game Highlights: The game highlights can be found here

The Opposition Opinion: Pensburgh is the place to go for their view on the game.

Quick Thoughts:

Good effort by the Devils in this game, compared to other losses in this long losing streak. There was a lot of flashes of brilliance by individual Devil players, but it is evident that this team is lacking some stability that comes from a veteran presence.

Good on Nick Merkley to actually stand up for Studenic after he was blasted by Zucker. At times throughout the season, this team has failed to respond when their youngsters were punished by other teams, so it’s good to see Merkley take a stand against these type of hits.

I’m a big Jesper Bratt fan, and I thought he did well today despite going scoreless. He led the team in shots with 6 while also actually running some plays on the power play with his unit.

Good bounce back from Blackwood. While his first goal was admittedly a bit weak, the other two goals were of no fault of his own, and he did his best to support the Devils when the Penguins created good opportunities in the offensive zone.

Andreas Johnsson continues to struggle whenever he hits the ice, which is quite sad given the hype he was given entering the season. With that said, he is still a former 20 goal scorer playing in one of the weirdest years in NHL history, so he could be given the benefit of the doubt this season. I want to believe that he can get better for the Devils - but I don’t know if I trust his play next season given what I saw this season.

This season is coming to a merciful end soon, as we limp closer to a finish.

Your Thoughts

Again, quick recap today. How did you feel about the game? Do you think the Devils looked better today? What players impressed you today? Which players disappointed you? Let me know in the comments below, and have a good rest of the day!