Thankfully this is the regular season and not the playoffs. If it was the post-season, the Devils would have swept the offensively-shackled Penguins and allowed just two goals in the four mind-numbing contests. The Brodeur Wall has yielded just two goals to his talented rivals and zero in more than eight periods. He consistently redefines stingy, having blanked the Pens in consecutive games and elevating his NHL record to 105 shutouts.
In a game that could have pitted two of Team Canada’s three netminders, Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma called on back-up Brent Johnson to man the pipes. The first-year Penguin performed admirably with 31 saves, but the second biggest thorn in Pittsburgh’s rump Niclas Bergfors saucered a seeing-eye softie across the crease just 1:48 into the contest. An empty netter after the Pens had pushed everyone forward in one last gasp capped the 2-0 victory for the Atlantic Division’s, and maybe Eastern Conference’s, best team.
It is hard enough to watch a game against the Devils; I can’t imagine what the Penguin players go through. How frustrating it is to see almost every pass challenged and shot blocked. Despite New Jersey’s seemingly perfect positioning, the Pens did carve out some excellent chances, including a couple fantastic one-on-one dances by Malkin and Crosby. But each time, Marty stood tall.
And so after a five-game win streak, the Pens have now lost three straight and four of five. The current four-game road stretch continues this weekend with contests at Tampa Bay Saturday and at Florida Sunday. Will Vinny L. and mighty St. Louis be out to prove Stevie Y. wrong for leaving them home in February? Interesting article on NHL.com about Olympic snubs. (Will Guerin and Orpik be snubbed when the USA roster is unveiled Jan. 1? Vote below.)
Pittsburgh will then play seven games in 11 days, only two in the friendly Igloo, including a Western Canada swing to usher in 2010. Brace yourselves Penguins fans. The rough sledding has only just begun.
Will Bill Guerin and Brooks Orpik make the United States Olympic Team?
- Yes, Both (25%, 1 Votes)
- Only Guerin will be chosen (25%, 1 Votes)
- Only Orpik will be chosen (25%, 1 Votes)
- Nope, Neither (25%, 1 Votes)
Total Voters: 4
Devils 2, Penguins 0
Media’s Three Stars – Brodeur, Johnson, Bergfors
Labyrinth’s Three Stars– Hard to argue these selections, although only one star needed to be awarded on this night.
Blew a Tire – Chris Kunitz, -2 and one penalty.
The Opposition’s View: http://pucksandpitchforks.com/