New Jersey’s power play scored two third-period goals to lift the Devils to a 3-1 win against the Penguins at Prudential Center Saturday afternoon.
Adam Henrique and Bobby Butler scored the man-advantage tallies for New Jersey, while rookie Stefan Matteau scored his first-career NHL goal.
The Penguins scored a power-play goal of their own when Brandon Sutter tipped in a Simon Despres shot just 1:23 into the game. The man-advantage score snapped the Devils streak of 19 consecutive successful penalty kills. Sutter now has a five-game scoring streak (3G-2A).
The Devils won their fourth straight game, while the Penguins five-game winning streak came to an end.
The two teams will meet again Sunday night in Pittsburgh for the second-half of the home-and-home series.
"We've played them twice now. Things went our way the first game and their way tonight," Sutter said. "We get one again tomorrow."
The Penguins lost this contest for a pretty simple reason: discipline. The Penguins took 12 minor penalties and gave the Devils 10 power-play opportunities.
"We took a lot of penalties," head coach Dan Bylsma said. "The majority of the game was eaten up by penalty kill. We weren't able to get into any flow or five-on-five."
The Penguins were able to kill the first six times they were shorthanded, however the dam broke with under 10 minutes left when Adam Henrique scored.
"Whenever you give a team repeated power plays it gets harder as you go along," Bylsma said. "When you get to the seven, eight, nine, 10 area or three, four in a period, it's harder to kill those. Our PK and Marc were strong early on. ... Tonight they were able to break it through."
The scene was similar to Pittsburgh’s Tuesday contest in Long Island. The Penguins were shorthanded seven times, but escaped unscathed thanks to great goaltending and penalty killing. They were strong against the Devils early, but then got burned for two. The large number of penalties is a trend the Penguins do not want to continue.
The Pens nearly scored a very bizarre goal with under a minute to play in the second period.
Pittsburgh was working on a power play when Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur lost his stick, which ended up in the corner. New Jersey cleared the puck and Brodeur raced to the corner to fetch his stick. However, an alert Marc-Andre Fleury jetted from his crease and threw a pass to Evgeni Malkin, who was standing at the blue line.
Malkin, also aware Brodeur had vacated the net, threw a turning shot at the net. From there it only gets crazier. As Brodeur, who played in his 1,200th career game, races to get back into the net, the puck caromed off the far post and sped toward the Devils netminder. Brodeur tried to jump so the puck wouldn’t deflect off him, but wasn’t quick enough. The puck hit Brodeur’s skate, went off the near post, surfed along the goal line, went off the far post and then out of the crease.
However, it would have all been for not had the puck gone in. The Penguins were offsides on the play.
Deryk Engelland did a little bit of policing in the first period. David Clarkson collided with Sidney Crosby away from the puck. Crosby didn’t appreciate the hit, neither did Engelland. The Pens defender went after Clarkson, but Krystofer Barch stepped in.
Engelland and Barch dropped the gloves and scrapped for a decent battle. But the important point was Engelland knowing his role and sticking up for his teammate.
Robert Bortuzzo is certainly not afraid to get physical against opponents. He exchanged hits and words with Washignton’s Alex Ovechkin on Thursday. Bortuzzo was at it again Saturday against the Devils, mostly getting into “discussions” and exchanging pleasantries with David Clarkson.
Bylsma said, “He’s a bigger bodied game and a little bit lanky, but he has some sandpaper to his game. … He’s got a little bite to his game.”