The Pittsburgh Penguins took on the New Jersey Devils on Saturday without one of their key players in Kris Letang. The Devils entered the game one point behind the Penguins for top spot in Atlantic Division. Both teams are on winning streaks as the Penguins are riding a five game win streak and the Devils are on a three game win streak.
The game was going to be decided on special teams as the Penguins power play has been on fire, since the moving James Neal from the point to the slot, including scoring three power play goals last game against Washington Capitals. However, Devils penalty kill has been outstanding currently ranking sixth in the NHL, killing off their last 19 successfully. With the Devils it is not just killing the penalty they look to go on the offense when they are shorthanded currently leading the NHL in shorthanded goal with three.
It was the Penguins striking first as they got an early power play. As Brandon Sutter scored his third of the year tipping a Simon Despres slap shot past Martin Brodeur for a 1-0 lead. The Pens seemed a little undisciplined at times in the first period as they took three consecutive penalties, and 13 total penalty minutes total in the first period. But the penalty kill and Marc Andre Fleury did its job killing all three of the Devils power play opportunities and keeping the score 1-0.
The Devils dominated the Penguins in the second period as the Pens continued taking penalties. For most of the period the play was in the Penguins zone as the Devils peppered Marc Andre Fleury with shot after shot until they finally got one past him. Stefan Matteau scored his first in the National Hockey League tying the game at one. The Penguins were able to get some momentum back thanks to great saves by Fleury and a late power play.
The game was a typical Penguins vs Devils game. A close, hard hitting, physical type of game where one mistake kills you in the end. The Penguins made that mistake in the third taking a penalty i giving the Devils their sixth power play. After killing the first five, it was only a matter of time before the Devils were able to score on one of them. Adam Henrique scored his fourth on the power play giving the Devils a 2-1 lead.
The Pens didn’t seem to learn their lesson because moments later after the Devils scored Evgeni Malkin took a tripping call giving the Devils their seventh power play of the afternoon. Bobby Butler scored on the power play increasing the Devils lead to 3-1.
Penguins lost this game because they played undisciplined hockey taking 13 penalties totaling in 29 penalty minutes (just about half the hockey game the Penguins spent in the penalty box) and ten power plays for the Devils. They will look to get some revenge on the Devils and end their four game win streak tomorrow night in Pittsburgh.