Fresh off a five game winning streak, the Penguins looked mostly lifeless against their division rivals the New Jersey Devils. The huge story of the night is, of course, Martin Brodeur. Brodeur set the all-time shutout record, passing Terry Sawchuk with his 104 blanking effort of the night.
Nothing worked well for the Pittsburgh from the get-go, when defensemen Bryce Salvador threaded a puck through several bodies (most of them Penguins) to open the scoring. New Jersey would roar out of the gate when official new Penguin killer Niclas Bergfors drilled a shot by again an obstructed Marc-Andre Fleury. The Pittsburgh PP would get two chances, but convert neither early in the second before Zach Parise, Dean McAmmond and Patrik Elias had a great shift and eventually buried it to stretch the lead for 3-0. Just a few minutes later, about half-way through the second Mark Fraser scored again and it was time to put Fleury out of his misery.
Brent Johnson came in and stopped the bleeding --unfortunately not literally for Jordan Staal who caught a puck to the face. Staal would return at the beginning of the period, sporting a full shield and looking a lot worse for wear. From there the Pens and Devs killed time to the end of the game.
Sidney Crosby rung a shot off the post with about 1:40 left, and with about :40 left Evgeni Malkin had a great chance. Brodeur was up for it, and it was his night.
- Frustrating night for everyone in black-and-gold. Max Talbot got baited into a 10 minute misconduct late in the 2nd and threw his helmet when walking to the room. One of those nights where nothing worked.
- 8th straight game for Malkin taking a penalty, this time a hook. Not to be out-done, Crosby took an interference minor when he slashed the stick out of a player's hands. (Yeah, the bloggers are frustrated too, can you tell?)
- Fleury deserved a better fate,on every goal he never got a good look at the puck, or there was a mad scramble in front of him. Hard to fault a goalie when the team in front of him plays so poorly.
- Johnson did really well to finish things out, making 14 saves on 14 shots. Things could have gotten really ugly if Johnny wasn't sharp.
- Kudos for the Pittsburgh crowd to give a nice round of applause to Brodeur, recognizing his achievement. Almost fitting he breaks the record against a team that he has a .890 career save percentage against and one that's chased him out of the games more than any other.
- The lone brightspot was the faceoff circle: the Pens won 59% of the draws, including Crosby's 19 wins on 26 draws (73%) and Staal's 8 wins on 11 tries (73%). But that's kind of like saying Custer's boys got a few good shots in at Little Big Horn.
- You think that was a bad joke? Listen to this zinger by Paul Steigerwald on FSN (with about 1:40 left in the game) Referring to how hard former Hobey Baker trophy winner Mike Mottau got hit, Steiggy quiped: "Not as hard as Hobey Baker went down though -- he went down in a plane crash!" He then laughed and apologized for joking about "how he left us" before laughing some more.
No winning streak lasts forever, sadly, and this is in the flames of Hobey Baker's plane wreckage at five games. Not a bad stretch, but the Penguins have now only scored 1 goal in the past two games. They'll have one chance to feel good about things before the brief Christmas break when the Ottawa Senators come to town on Wednesday.