The Pittsburgh Penguins were on the road again, this time taking to the ice in New Jersey, where they would face off against the Devils for the second time in the last seven days. Riding a five-game winning streak and sitting atop the Eastern Conference, the Pens were looking to make it six in a row. The only thing standing in their way was veteran goaltender Martin Brodeur, playing in career game number 1200. And, unfortunately for Pens fans, it would be Marty who would come out victorious.
The Penguins would earn the first goal of the afternoon (spoiler alert – it would be their ONLY goal of the game) just a minute and a half into the game. With just forty-four seconds off the clock, the Penguins would earn their first power play of the afternoon when New Jersey’s David Clarkson was called for a trip. This would provide all the opportunity Brandon Sutter would need to tip-in a shot from Simon Despres to give the Penguins an early lead. What would follow would be a series of trips to the penalty box, including a boarding call to Joe Vitale following a fighting major to Deryk Engelland. Luckily, the Devils would be unable to capitalize on the man advantage during the first, allowing the Pens to carry their lead into the second. Shots would be even at 7 apiece after the first twenty.
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Momentum would shift in favour of New Jersey in the second, the Devils testing Marc-Andre Fleury often and from all over the place. Despite having a number of power play opportunities, the Devils would be unable to capitalize with the man advantage. They would, however, tie the game with less than five minutes left in the period courtesy of a wrist shot from Stefan Matteau. Matteau would beat a sprawling Fleury. The Penguins would come close to regaining the lead – mere inches in fact – but the puck, while beating Brodeur, would just skim the goal line without actually crossing it. After 40, the game would remain tied with the Devils outshooting Pittsburgh 12 to 8.
The third period would see a pair of New Jersey goals that would ultimately seal the deal for New Jersey while ending the Pens streak at five. Both goals would come on the power play as the Penguins would earn six penalties in the final frame. With just over ten minutes left to go in the game, Tanner Glass would be called for hold, opening up a window of opportunity for Adam Henrique whose snap shot would give the Devils the lead. Just minutes later, following a tripping call against Evgeni Malkin, it would be Bobby Butler securing a two goal lead with a snap shot. At the final horn, the scoreboard would read 3 to 1 in favour of the Devils.
The Penguins took 12 minor penalties, allowing the Devils to have the man advantage ten times. Paul Martin led all skaters with 28:49 of ice time while Brooks Orpik had 23:27. Sidney Crosby registered 6 shots on net while Evgeni Malkin had 5 of his own. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 25 of the 28 shots he faced while Martin Brodeur stopped 24 of the 25 sent his way. With the win, the Devils sit atop the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference standing by a single point, temporarily knocking Pittsburgh out of said spot.
Both teams would hit the road immediately after the game, destination Pittsburgh where they will square off tomorrow evening. Game time is 7:00pm.