The Penguins (29-21-3) met the New Jersey Devils (26-16-8) for the first time this season following a tremendous 7-4 victory over the Washington Capitals. Due to recent injuries to Conor Sheary and Patric Hornqvist, the Penguins received some backup in the form of Zach Aston-Reese. Aston-Reese would suit up to play in his first National Hockey League game tonight.
Mike Sullivan also announced that Casey DeSmith got the nod as the starting netminder.
With all of that out of the way, the Penguins dressed this lineup:
And the Devils brought out this starting lineup:
94 seconds into the game, Miles Wood of the Devils was called for hooking, letting the Penguins and their league-leading power-play take the ice. However, the Devils’ PK unit successfully killed off the penalty.
Soon after the kill, Jamie Oleksiak was called for interfering on the aforementioned Wood. This penalty was killed as well.
With six minutes to go in the first frame, Taylor Hall rushed into the offensive zone, duped Kris Letang and Letang would respond with a slash to try and prevent a goal, sending NJ to the power-play once again. Pittsburgh would kill the penalty two minutes later.
The period would come to an end with both teams still sharing goose eggs on the scoreboard.
Stats after one:
30 seconds into the period, Travis Zajac would make Casey DeSmith and the Penguins pay by feasting off of a turnover right in front of the goalie.
Moments later, the Devils would capitalize on the Penguins’ failure to get the puck out of their zone to go up 2-0.
With 11 minutes left in the period, Jake Guentzel was called for interference on Jesper Bratt. Time on the power-play would expire with the Devils still up 2-0.
The majority of the period belonged to the Devils and they spent a lot of time in their offensive zone.
#Pens are being outshot 25-7 with under 8 minutes left to play in the 2nd. -MC— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) February 4, 2018
The Penguins would get a chance on net here and there, but other than that, it was a quiet period and they would go into the locker room down 2-0 after 40 minutes of play.
The Penguins came out with a good pep in their step to start the third period. Carl Hagelin actually hit the crossbar four minutes into the period, but the Devils would still maintain their shutout lead.
Evgeni Malkin would halve the deficit for the Penguins with his eighth goal in the last four games. What a beaut.
Right down Main Street and in the back of the net. pic.twitter.com/8BEkd6rPpm— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 4, 2018
At the ten-minute mark of the period, the Devils would regain their two-goal lead thanks to Travis Zajac. This was his second goal of the night.
Sidney Crosby looked to have scored the 400th goal of his career, but after review, an errant stick hit the head of Keith Kinkaid, then Crosby shot the puck off of Kinkaid’s head while the goalie was down. Mike Sullivan would challenge the call, but to no avail.
After that debacle, still facing a two-goal deficit, time would start to become the enemy of the Penguins.
Casey DeSmith was pulled with two minutes to go in regulation. The extra attacker would prove to be no help, time would expire, and the Penguins would drop this one by a score of 3-1.
- 16 shots through 60 minutes of hockey won’t cut it. The Penguins looked slow out of the gate and only started to turn it on right when the clock was against them.
- With that said, this game could be looked as a possible outlier down the road when looking back at this otherwise stellar stretch of play.
- The Hockey Gods are not on Sidney Crosby’s side for goal number 400.
- How poetic would it be for Sid to get the long-awaited goal off of his old friend, Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury and the red-hot Golden Knights come to town on Tuesday for the Flower’s first game back in Pittsburgh since the Stanley Cup-winning run of last year.