Well, let's just jump right in to this stinker.
The Devils strike first and early, after NJD takes advantage of a turnover (and the Pens thinking all-offense) Kyle Palmieri catches up to a nice indirect pass and shoots a puck by Marc-Andre Fleury for his 28th goal of the season.
Not content with just one goal, Palmieri strikes again, this time on the power play from the Ovechkin-spot in the left circle hammering a puck home. Yikes. 2-0 Devils after 20.
The next goal wouldn't come until the 3rd and it would be New Jersey again. Adam Henrique takes advantage of the Pens pinching and blows another puck by Fleury's glove-hand.
That, sadly would be it for the scoring.
- Beau Bennett back in the lineup for only the second time in the last 44 games due to a shoulder injury. If it weren't so callous and about someone's pain, it would be a pool going for how long he can remain in the lineup. Getting anything from him would be a bonus at this point. Bennett's biggest moment of the night might have been a pretty weak call against him for holding in the first period (where NJD would score on).
- Brian Dumoulin was also able to answer the bell and take his spot in the lineup after getting knocked out of last game from a heavy check. Nice time to have a 3 day break for him and Dumo looked pretty much his normal, solid self all game.
- The Pens have a real problem if they need to rush the puck up the ice on the power play. Makes faceoff wins on the PP (something we've harped on, and something Sidney Crosby hasn't been great on the past 2 seasons) all the more important. Sans Evgeni Malkin the Penguins have no plan, no designated guy, nothing. And it's showing. Big, big problem that needs a plan to address it.
- Speaking of faceoffs, not a great time for Nick Bonino to lose a draw cleanly in the 1st, leading directly to the Devils' 2nd goal. Bonino also pretty much squandered a great scoring chance in the 1st having plenty of time and space right in front following a Phil Kessel pass, but Bonino could only muster a pretty weak looking backhand shot on the ice that Scott Wedgewood could easily track.
- And, while we're talking missed opportunities, Kessel twice had his patented "skate really hard up the right wing and snap a shot on goal" move going in a quick span in the second...And twice missed the net. Granted, he's aiming for a small target moving really fast but that could have turned the game if he hits pay dirt on either chance. Didn't.
- Not a good game overall, but still really liked the night Ian Cole had. A team high 6 hits, often seeming noticeable with separating Devils from the puck. And tied for team high 2 blocked shots. Looks well placed on the 3rd pair and PK capable in his current role.
- Pens won the shot battle 39-24. Won shot attempts 57-32. Devils got way more odd-man breaks though, and that's a big reason they got more (and all of the) goals.
- Justin Schultz in the offensive zone sure is fun to watch. He'll skate the puck all over, cut to the net without it, basically looks like a 4th forward out there.
- Down 2-0 after 1, Sullivan's response was to put Carl Hagelin up a line with Crosby and Patric Hornqvist and drop Chris Kunitz down with Bonino-Kessel. Sounds good in theory to add a little speed to Sid's line in what was a very fast game.
- Wedgewood was very good in only his second career game. 39 total saves, even though not too many seemed to be all that dangerous or good of chances. Still, take nothing away from him, he did the job tonight.
- A shutout, obviously, means an end to the 12 game Crosby point-streak. And, sadly, probably the end of Superstitious Sid's mustache. Til we meet again, old friend.
Well, you can't win 'em all and the Pens drop their first in 7 after a three day rest that seemed to dull them after how strong they looked last weekend. Pittsburgh fell behind so early and never recovered, and the Devils to their credit showed that they aren't pushovers or tomato cans in their own right. There's no such thing as an easy win in the NHL and we saw that first hand tonight.
Sometimes it be's that way. Onward to the next game Saturday afternoon in Detroit, the first of two very important weekend games.