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Pens-Devils In-Game Blog

Saturday, 03.17.2012 / 11:30 AM / Features
By Michelle Crechiolo
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Pens-Devils In-Game Blog



PENGUINS 5, DEVILS 2

11TH STRAIGHT WIN FOR PITTSBURGH





0:00: The horn sounds and the Penguins have won their 11th straight game (now the NHL's longest streak this season) with a 5-2 victory over New Jersey!!!

2:00: Devils successfully thwart Pittsburgh's PP and go back to full strength.

4:03: Pens are on the power play after David Clarkson goes to the box following a ruckus behind the Devils net.

4:55: The Pens seem to have recovered from the Devils' strong start to the period. They've been controlling play for quite some time now.

Note: Crosby earned the secondary assist on Cooke's second goal to give him five assists in his last two games since coming back on Thursday in New York against the Rangers. He now has 17 points (2G-15A) and six multiple-point games in just 10 contests played this season.

7:28: Pens kill it off and go back to full strength.

9:40: Devils are on the power play as Engelland is in the box for hooking.

     "Matt cookie monster again and again #pens"

                                                           @jdvogler

11:00: Eric Boulton receives a 10-minute misconduct and heads to the box. The Pens will not go to the PP as no minor was called on the play.

14:05: Kennedy makes a couple of smooth moves to make his way into the slot and leaves it for Cooke, who lifts one over Brodeur for his second straight two-goal game! Great backcheck by that line to help out their D and get the puck back into the Devils zone! PENS 5, DEVILS 2

15:22: The Devils have come out flying in this period with a spirited start. Can't count them out yet.

17:34: After Fleury makes a solid kick save on a shot from the slot, Sykora is open at the side of the net to grab the rebound and stuff it home. PENS 4, DEVILS 2

20:00: Puck drops to start the third. Game on!


(Getty Images)





The Penguins totally took over the game in that period, scoring three goals (on 12 shots) in the second half while holding the Devils to just four shots in the 20-minute frame. Dupuis, Cooke and Malkin all came up with big tallies to give their team a big lead heading into the third.  

- With the tally, Dupuis now has five goals and two assists in a five-game point streak -- which matches his career high.
- Dupuis has also hit the 20-goal mark for just the second time in his career, tying his personal best set in 2002-03 with Minnesota
- Staal's assist on Dupuis' goal gives him points (and assists) in 10 straight games.
- Staal now owns the team's longest point streak of the season (Malkin, 9 games, Dec. 8-29).
- Malkin's goal means he has hit the 40-goal mark for the second time in his career (47 in '07-08).
- Malkin is now the sixth player in team history to have multiple 40-goal seasons (Lemieux, 10; Jagr, 5; Stevens, 4; Pronovost, 4, Bullard, 2).
- Crosby has two assists through 9:44 of ice time.
- Pens are nearly unbeatable -- 62-3-6 -- when Crosby, Malkin and Staal each collect at least one point.





0:00: Pens take a 4-1 lead into the final frame. They're outshooting the Devils 26-10.

3:40: Crosby displays a burst of speed, carrying down the side of the ice and blasting a shot at Brodeur that the goalie quickly gloves. Another good chance for Sid.

4:30: Malkin has now reached the 40-goal mark for the second time in his career (47 in '07-08).

     "Shame on you for 6 weeks if ur missing this St. Patties' Day of #Pens excellence. Crosby & Malkin unreal set-up and goal. Wow."
                                                           @JohnToperzer

     "crosby to malkin for a goal - great to hear that again :-) @pghpenguins"
                                                           @ry_guy23

     "Crosby to Malkin on the PP!! 4-1 #pens Pretty pass, pretty shot. #getusedtoit"
                                                           @lcjs

7:18: Wow. Crosby and Malkin just connected for a gorgeous goal. Crosby does a great job on the boards of protecting the puck from Jacob Josefsen and is able to feather a perfect pass across the ice to the blade of Malkin. He instantly winds up, fires and Brodeur has no chance. PENS 4, DEVILS 1

7:59: And now the Pens are heading to the PP. Clarkson is in the box for roughing.

     "What a pass! What a goallll! #pens Cooke gets another one! You cant tell me Crosby doesnt make a line 10x's better!"

                                                           @AlexSintz

Note: There's no better time to note that the Pittsburgh chapter of the PHWA has selected Matt Cooke as its 2012 Masterton nominee.


(Getty Images)

8:16: Despite being surrounded by three red and green jerseys, Crosby sends a bullet of a backhand pass to a crashing Cooke. The puck deflects off his skate and into the goal! However, the play is under review to determine if there was a distinct kicking motion...AND IT'S GOOD! That's Cooke's third goal in the last 2 games! PENS 3, DEVILS 1

     "Super DUPER! Dupuis scores!!! #pens leading #NJDevils 2-1. Staalsy gets an assist extending his point streak!"

                                                           @concretefluff

Notes: With the tally, Dupuis now has five goals and two assists in a five-game point streak! It matches his career high. Staal's assist on the play gives him points in 10 straight games. He now owns the team's longest point streak of the season (Malkin, 9 games, Dec. 8-29).

9:50: Looks like that timeout worked wonders! Niskanen hits Staal with a breakout pass. He enters the zone and drops a pass to Dupuis. Dupuis rifles one past Brodeur for his 20th goal of the season! PENS 2, DEVILS 1

10:08: Pens have to use their timeout after icing the puck at the end of a long shift.

12:19: Elias seems to have a sure breakaway when a puck hops over Martin's stick at the blue line, but the Devils forward trips of his own accord and allows Martin to get back!

15:06: Two big saves by Brodeur on the same shift. The first one comes when he stacks the pads on Neal at the backdoor (who'd gotten a gorgeous pass from Malkin). The second comes when he slides across his crease to stop a Letang one-timer (that came off a feed through two Devils defenders from Crosby).

16:59: Pens kill it off and go back to full strength.

19:02: Staal gets tangled up with David Clarkson as they race toward the Penguins net, and Staal gets called for elbowing on the play. Pens to the PK.

20:00: Puck drops to start the second. Game on!


(Getty Images)





Though the Prudential Center hasn't been kind to them recently, the Pens get off to a strong start in the building beginning with Chris Kunitz earning a penalty shot. Though Kunitz didn't convert, James Neal scored off the resulting faceoff to give the Pens a 1-0 lead. Pittsburgh controlled play from there on out and kept the Devils hemmed in their own end for long shifts, but momentum shifted when New Jersey scored four seconds after a penalty kill with just three minutes left in the period to tie it up.

- Neal's goal was his third of the season on that exact faceoff play
- Malkin's assist on the play ups his league-leading point total to 86





0:00: That'll do it for the first. Pens and Devils are tied 1-1 and Pittsburgh has a 14-6 shots advantage.

1:59: Pens worked mostly on the PP in practice Friday, but it's going to take a while for that unit to jell. A lot of perimeter passing and not enough shooting, but that will come with a little time.

3:03: Just seconds after the penalty expires, Kovalchuk carries down and drops to D-man Andy Greene, who strings a shot into the top corner of the net for the score. The play is under review since it's a close call as to whether it crossed the goal line, but the call on the ice stands. PENS 1, DEVILS 1

5:07: And now the Pens will go up against the NHL's top-ranked penalty kill unit as the Devils are caught with too many men on the ice (Petr Sykora will serve). The Pens start with their top unit of Malkin, Neal, Kunitz, Letang and Crosby.

5:49: Kovalchuk with a heavy blast from the circle as Tangradi is released, but Fleury squares up and absorbs the shot!

7:50: The NHL's No. 2 penalty kill will go to work as Tangradi is called for elbowing in the corner of the Devils zone. Staal, Cooke, Orpik and Michalek are the first four on the ice for Pittsburgh.

     "#Pens looking sharp and like there's no weak point of their game!"
                                                           @JerseyBuccoFan

9:56: Crosby nearly gets his first goal since returning when it seems he's got an open net with Brodeur down and out, but the Devils goalie reaches back and denies Sid with the paddle of his stick! Great save by Brodeur.

     "That was a GORGEOUS goal by @jneal_18. Faceoffs are important, kiddos! #pens"

                                                           @MissHailmonkey

13:25: The Devils get their second shot of the game, a shot that Fleury sees all the way and easily gloves for the faceoff.

14:22: Real good shift by Staal's line just now. They kept play hemmed in the Devils zone for an extended period of time.



18:01: But on the resulting faceoff, Malkin wins the faceoff over rookie Adam Henrique back to a planted Neal, who absolutely snipes a shot past Brodeur! Great to see Neal teeing it off like that. I wonder if that play is named after him (Pens usually name their faceoff set plays after their players). PENS 1, DEVILS 0

18:05: This contest isn't lacking for dramatics early as Chris Kunitz gets a penalty shot! Kuni whips out his trademark move as he bears down on Brodeur, but the Hall of Fame goalie manages to stay with him and keep the puck from sliding in.

     "It's too nice to watch the @pghpenguins game inside, so we brought the game outside! #pens"
                                                           @DickCasey

20:00: Puck drops to start the first in the Garden State for this St. Patty's Day matinee. Game on!


(Getty Images)



12:45 PM:
Pittsburgh scratches Lovejoy, Park, Jeffrey, Asham and Johnson. Here is the Pens' lineup for this afternoon's game...

Kunitz-Malkin-Neal
Sullivan-Staal-Dupuis
Cooke-Crosby-Kennedy
Tangradi-Vitale-Adams

Martin-Letang
Orpik-Michalek
Niskanen-Engelland

Fleury in goal. Brodeur starting for the Devils.



12:15 PM:
The Devils have won 6 of their last 8 games, but have been struggling to score as they've been shut out in each of their last two contests. But they still have a lineup of dangerous scorers with Ilya Kovalchuk (30), captain Zach Parise (28), David Clarkson (28) and Patrik Elias (24). Click here for more of what to watch for in this afternoon's contest. Below is a scouting report on New Jersey.






12:00 PM:
It wouldn't be a game day without the Verizon Game Day Report. Steve Mears gives you the deets on this afternoon's Pens-Devils contest.






11:45 AM:
Head coach Dan Bylsma spoke with the media this morning before the game. He said that Marc-Andre Fleury, who has won nine straight decisions, will get the start between the pipes. Bylsma added that forward Arron Asham, who missed Friday's practice with an illness, will not be in the lineup.

Here is the rest of what coach Bylsma had to say...

On why the Pens have struggled in New Jersey:
Maybe more than any other team or place, it’s been our inability to maintain poise and play the way we need to play. We’ve been frustrated. We’ve gotten off our game at times in the past three years here. That’s something we pride ourselves in, a trademark, playing the same way no matter what the score is or if we’re home or on the road. This is one team we’ve been unable to do that against.

On his starting goalie:
Marc-Andre Fleury will be in the net.

On if he’ll start Fleury against Philadelphia:
It’s not close enough to the other game for you to ask that question (laughs).

On if Crosby and Staal will play together:
Last game Jordan was playing center with Sid on the wing. I’d like to see that a handful of times tonight depending on how the game goes, depending on the matchups they’re striving to get. I’d like to continue to see them get chances to play together and what that will look like.

On why Crosby is playing wing and not Staal:
The one thing you see with Jordan is his ability to end plays in the defensive zone and it’s not hard to tell when that’s coming. As a winger with Jordan, being able to take advantage of that situation where you know he’s going to win the puck and come away with the puck, read off of that. I think that’s something we talked about in the summer time. Watching it this year it is even more evident up stairs. You see that being the case. Being a winger allows you the ability to get some speed and get to an area if that’s going to be the case.

On if Arron Asham will play:
Asham is not (in the lineup), no.





11:30 AM:
Good morning and Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone! The Penguins are in Newark, N.J. preparing to take on the Devils in an afternoon matinee at the Prudential Center. Pittsburgh is looking for its 11th straight win, but will have to go through a tough New Jersey squad to get it. As my friend and colleague Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review put it, the Pens always have a Devil of a time in New Jersey. They have gone 1-6-1 in their last eight games at the Prudential Center and overall, the Pens have dropped the season series with their division rival six of the last nine seasons. Both teams are battling for the best playoff position possible, so it's sure to be an exciting game.

Since it's St. Patrick's Day, let's start today's blog accordingly. Here is Dropkick Murphy's "Amazing Grace." Thanks to Sam for the tip on what would be a good song to play. I hope everybody has a safe holiday and enjoys this gorgeous weather (sunny and 70s...could you ask for a better day?!). Luck o' the Irish to you all.


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