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Penguins vs. Devils Scouting Report

Friday, 10.21.2011 / 9:00 PM ET / Features
By Michelle Crechiolo
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Penguins vs. Devils Scouting Report
Pittsburgh Penguins
Home: 2-1-1-5
Road: 3-1-1-7

WHEN: Oct. 22, 2011 - 7:00 pm   |   WHERE: CONSOL Energy Center
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New Jersey Devils
Home: 2-1-1-5

  Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New Jersey Devils 






Zach Parise
LW  -  #9
  3 Goals
  1 Assist
  4 Points
• The 27-year-old winger, who served as an alternate captain in 2009-10 before missing 69 games in 2010-11 with a knee injury, became the ninth Devils captain in team history on Oct. 5.

• Was the Devils’ leading scorer in 2009-10 with 38 goals, 44 assists and 82 points, becoming the first player in Devils franchise history to record four-straight 30-goal campaigns and two back-to-back 80-point seasons.

• Traditionally performs well against division rival Pittsburgh, notching 29 points (12G-17A) in 37 career games against the Penguins.
Adam Larsson
D -  #5
  0 Goals
  0 Assists
  0 Points
• Was 18 years, 10 months and 26 days when he made his NHL debut for the Devils in their season opener on Oct. 8 vs. Philadelphia – being the first 18-year-old to play for New Jersey since Petr Sykora (and the eighth in team history).

• Has stepped right into a big role on the Devils’ blue line, logging 20-plus minutes of ice time in each of the first four games – including 25:37 vs. Nashville on Oct. 15.

• The solid 6-foot-3, 200-pound Swedish blueliner was drafted fourth overall by New Jersey in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
Johan Hedberg
G  -  #1
  3 wins
  .939 svpct
  1.79 GAA
• Capable backup is 13-2-2 in his last 17 decisions dating back to last season, where he powered the Devils to an 11-1-1 record in February while starter Martin Brodeur rested a knee injury.

• That run included a personal-best seven-game winning streak last season, where he posted two shutouts, .960 save percentage and 0.98 goals-against average.

Spent parts of three seasons with Pittsburgh between 2001-03, going 46-57-12 with a 2.88 goals-against average in 116 games and helping backstop the Penguins to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2001 – going 9-9 with a 2.30 goals-against average.
The Penguins will face their first Atlantic Division rival on Saturday when they host the New Jersey Devils, who have gotten off to a strong start under new head coach Peter DeBoer. After dropping their season opener to Philadelphia, the Devils are now riding a 3-0-1 streak heading into their game against Pittsburgh.

The Devils seem to be picking up where they left off last season, where they staged one of the most remarkable turnarounds in NHL history during the second half – earning 20 wins in 24 games from January to March after winning just nine of their first 36 contests. They couldn’t keep up that torrid pace – missing the playoffs for the first time since 1989 – but still finished the year with a respectable 29-17-3 record and possess some potent motivation after an uncharacteristically long offseason.

The Devils be without Hall of Fame goaltender Martin Brodeur on Saturday, as the team announced Wednesday he’d be out for seven to 10 days while rehabbing a bruised shoulder suffered on Oct. 13 vs. Los Angeles. Former Penguin Johan Hedberg has sparkled between the pipes in Brodeur’s absence, backstopping the Devils to each of their last three victories. Hedberg has been absolutely outstanding while stepping in for Brodeur dating back to last season. He’s 13-2-2 in his last 17 decisions and powered the Devils to an 11-1-1 record in February while Brodeur rested an injured knee.

The Devils finished dead last in the league last season in goals per game (2.08), but DeBoer has said that the main priority of his coaching staff is their defensive foundation – and that they’ll figure out a way to create more offense. Just not at the expense of their defense. That hasn’t been an issue yet, the Devils’ best players have been their best players, to put it simply.

They certainly miss injured top-line center Travis Zajac, whose francise-record ironman streak of 401 consecutive games was snapped when he missed the season opener after undergoing heel surgery in August. But new captain Zach Parise is primed for a bounceback season after he played just 13 games last season with a knee injury. Prior to his injury shortened 2010-11 campaign, Parise had scored a combined 83 goals in the previous two seasons – and he’s off to a good start with three in the first five games. The dynamic Ilya Kovalchuk, who carried his team offensively during their second-half surge last season, has been logging ridiculous minutes for his team – upwards of 27 per game. He is the only forward among the top 45 skaters in average ice time and also has a pair of tallies.
  • Forward Petr Sykora, who is beginning his second tour of duty with the Devils, played two seasons with the Penguins from 2007-09, helping Pittsburgh win the Stanley Cup in 2009. In his two seasons with the Penguins, Sykora played in 157 regular-season games and scored 53 goals and 109 points. Sykora added 10 points (6G-4A) in 27 postseason contests, including the dramatic triple- overtime game-winner in Game 5 of the 2008 Stanley Cup Final where Pittsburgh defeated Detroit, 4-3
  • Defenseman Paul Martin played his first six seasons with New Jersey after being drafted by the team in the second round (62nd overall) of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. Martin’s best season came in 2005-06 when he tallied 37 points (5G-32A) in 80 games.
  • Saturday marks the first of six meetings between the Penguins and the Devils. Pittsburgh has won the season series between the teams three times in the last four seasons, with the only exception being the 2009-10 season when New Jersey won all six meetings.
  • Saturday's meeting with the Devils is the Penguins’ first intra-division matchup of the season. Last year the Penguins went 12-9-3 against the Atlantic Division, including a 6-5-1 mark at home.
  • Last season the Penguins outshot the Devils in four of the six meetings, going 3-1 in those contests. Overall, the Penguins averaged 27.8 shots while the Devils averaged 25.7.
  • These two teams combined for just 17 regulation goals and 11 even-strength goals in the six meetings last year. Pittsburgh tallied 10 times, while New Jersey had seven.
  • Forward Steve Sullivan will be appearing in his 900th NHL game tonight. Sullivan’s NHL debut came on Feb. 23, 1996 against the Montreal Canadiens when he was a member of the Devils. That night, Sullivan also scored his first NHL goal.
  • Sullivan was originally drafted by the Devils in the ninth round (233rd overall) of the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. Sullivan broke into the league with New Jersey, playing parts of two seasons from 1996-97. He played 49 games with the Devils, tallying 31 points (13G-18A).




2010-11 STAT CHART

F Sidney Crosby, concussion
F Dustin Jeffrey, knee
F Tyler Kennedy, concussion
F Evgeni Malkin, lower-body
Neal (7) Parise (3)
Letang (6) Kovalchuk (3)
Neal (8)
Kovalchuk (5)
Engelland (11) Clarkson (26)
Cooke/Letang (3) Three tied with (1)
Neal (2) Kovalchuk/Parise (1)
Three tied with (1)
Parise (1)
Fleury (4-2-0)
Hedberg (3-0-1)
Fleury (2.32) Hedberg (1.79)
Fleury (.922) Hedberg (.939)

G Martin Brodeur, shoulder
C Jacob Josefson, broken right clavicle
F Travis Zajac, torn left Achilles tendon





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Author: Michelle Crechiolo
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