Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Penguins play the leftover Penguins!

By: MF,

The Pittsburgh Penguins last game before the All-Star Break will be against the New Jersey Devils, and there are precious points up for grabs. The Devils currently hold the final Wild Card spot in the East, and this puts the Penguins on the outside looking in.

However, a regulation win tonight would put both teams in a dead heat for that Wild Card position. Not to mention, a win would continue to propel the Penguins in the right direction. So to say this game is important would be an understatement.

The Penguins have been turning things around and lighting the lamp more often. Even though there is still some flaws; the team is finally coming together and looking like they should. In January, Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, and Kris Letang. Malkin has seven power-play points (two goals and five assists), which leads the National Hockey League (NHL). Crosby is tied for second in the NHL with seven goals and Letang leads NHL defensemen with 13 points (three goals and ten assists). It has been a great month for them, and the team is thriving. Crosby is getting back to his game and is riding a career-long six-game home goal scoring streak. As for Malkin, he became the third player in franchise history to score ten hat-tricks. When Crosby and Malkin are clicking, the team is also flying.

There will be some lineup changes though for the Penguins due to injuries. Letang was present during the morning skate and was confirmed for the game tonight. Chris Kunitz (undisclosed injury) and Beau Bennett (aggravated the previous injury) were absent. Kunitz will not be in the lineup.

On another note, many former members of the Penguins’ organization will be coming back to Pittsburgh. Ray Shero was the Penguins’ General Manager (GM) from 2006-2014 and is now the Devils’ GM. Tom Fitzgerald, who was an assistant coach and assistant to the GM for the Pens (among other things), is now the Devils’ assistant GM. The Devil’s Head Coach, John Hynes and assistant coach, Alain Nasreddine were in the same positions in Wilkes-Barre Scranton for five seasons. Lastly, former players Tyler Kennedy, Lee Stempniak, and Bobby Farnham have crossed over to enemy lines. It looks like the Penguins’ leftovers have been working out well for the Devils, which is good since they are all great guys and are good at what they do.

At any rate, home is where the heart is for the Penguins as they have a record of 5-0-2 in their last seven home games, which includes two straight wins. The netminder, Marc-Andre Fleury has a five-game home unbeaten streak (4-0-1).

In addition, the Penguins are 8-3-4 in their last 15 games and have a five-game point streak versus Metropolitan teams (3-0-2).

The Penguins have to stay focus and play their game. They need to play with speed and not let up on the Devils. Lets Go Pens!

The Pens lineup is as follows:

Cullen - Crosby - Hornqvist
Hagelin - Malkin - Kessel
Kuhnhackl - Fehr - Rust
Wilson - Porter - Sheary 

Maatta - Letang
Dumoulin - Daley
Pouliot - Lovejoy 

Fleury in the net!

Play by Play
PENS 2 Devils 0

3rd Period

1:01 - The Pens penalty kill has been on it all game as they kill another Devils' power play.

1:38 - Devils ring another one off the goal post!

1:50 - Devils have an empty net.

3:01 - The Devils get a late power play as Maatta is called for tripping.

3:27 - Fleury makes a good glove save through traffic and holds for the whistle.

4:33 - Kessel rips a backhanded pass to an open Malkin. Malkin rips one from the top of the face-off circle, but Schneider gets the glove out for the save.

6:49 - The Devils ring one off the goal post!

7:41 - Schneider robs Dumoulin with the pad. I have to say it was a great save through traffic. He has been on point for the Devils tonight.

8:33 - The Devils are able to kill the Pens power play.

10:33 - A power play for the Pens is coming as Stempniak is called for interference.

12:11 - The Pens are still doing a good job off pressuring the Devils in the offensive zone. Not many whistles right now.

15:38 - Letang feeds a pass to Cullen in the slot. He drives one just wide!

16:28 - Henrique gets a good chance up front, but Fleury makes a solid pad save.

17:44 - Cullen tries a wrap around and keeps whacking at the puck at the side of the net. Schneider holds strong.

20:00 - The guys are back on the ice for the third period! The Pens have to keep pressuring Schneider and not let up! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00 - The second period horn sounds and the Pens extend their lead to 2-0!

1:23 - Maatta is set free and that makes the Devils 0 for 3 on the power play.

3:23 - The Devils will get another crack at the power play as Maatta sits in the box for interference.

4:39 - KESSEL SCORES! Hagelin picks up the puck into the neutral zone and crosses the blue line! Hagelin pulls back on his backhand and turns to his forehand to make a beautiful pass to Kessel! Kessel puts one up high over Schneider! 2-0 Pens

5:29 - The third line for the Pens gets the puck in deep and down low. Nice offensive zone time.

9:47 - Crosby finds Hornqvist. Schneider makes the save, but the puck is still loose. The Pens crash, but the whistle is blown.

10:45 - Letang takes a shot up high (chest area) and looks to be in some pain. He is talking to the trainer, but stays on the bench.

12:28 - Letang tries to put in a wrap around, but Schneider is there to make the save.

12:48 - Malkin turns over the puck behind his own net, but Fleury has his back.

14:52 - Rust picks up a rebound shot and tries for a wrap around chance. Schneider makes the save and tracks down the loose puck. The Pens with some good pressure.

16:32 - Crosby drives center and passes over to Cullen. Cullen goes across the ice to Hornqvist. Schneider makes the first save and holds as the Pens crash the net. Nice passing by the first line.

17:49 - Sheary is coming down the slot with speed and is denied by Schneider!

20:00 - Time for the second period! The Pens need to hammer Schneider and build on their lead! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00 - The first period ends and the Pens have the 1-0 lead!

0:33 - Another successful penalty kill for the Pens. The Devils were not about to even get set up.

0:57 - Cullen gets a chance shorthanded, but Schneider makes the pad save.

2:33 - The Devils will get another power play chance as Letang takes a seat for holding.

4:30 - CROSBY SCORES ON THE POWER PLAY! Letang fires a shot on net that is saved, but Crosby picks up the rebound and buries it! 1-0 Pens

4:38 - Letang with a good hard shot from the blue line, but Schneider makes the save.

5:12 - Now time for a Pens power play as Palmieri will head to the sin bin for tripping.

6:16 - The Pens are getting time to set up in the Devils' zone. The Devils are doing a good job of clearing the puck out of their zone.

8:29 - Successful penalty kill for the Pens and they hold the Devils to zero shots. Slow start for the Pens once again, maybe that kill can get things going.

10:29 - The first power play of the game goes to the Devils as Crosby sits for holding.

11:29 - Blandisi and Palmieri get a 2 on 1 chance. Blandisi dishes a pass over to Palmeiri, but Fleury makes a split save. Blandisi fans on the rebound chance. Unreal save by Fleury.

13:53 - Farnham comes in and gets in close with a bouncing puck. Fleury is up to the challenge and makes the save.

19:33 - Crosby fires one that just goes wide on the stick side of Schneider! It looked to be tipped wide by a Devil.

20:00 - The puck has dropped at Consol! The Pens have to come out with speed and take control of this game! Get those two points! Lets Go Pens! 

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