The Pittsburgh Penguins kept their momentum going Saturday, as they handled the New Jersey Devils by a final score of 5-1.
What looked to be a tough matchup between top teams–turned into a laugher–as Fleury had to only face 16 shots on his net.
Breaking the score to go up 1-0 in the second, the Pens were able to record another that period and three more in the third to move their record to 5-3 on the year.
Brandon Sutter, who has had a slow start offensively, was finally able to score his first goal as a Penguin. Originally it was thought to be Sidney Crosby’s tally, but it was later reversed after Crosby had told the keepers that it wasn’t him and to award Sutter with the goal.
Crosby shouldn’t mind that too much, considering he was able to record a goal and a couple helpers anyways. And that now gives Crosby a little bit of a roll with four points in his last two contests for the Pens.
Defenseman Robert Bortuzzo, who has been a fill in for the Pens with Lovejoy and Niskanen out, scored his first career NHL goal. Fed from Crosby and Pascal Dupuis, Bortuzzo was able to slap the biscuit five-hole to give the Penguins their final score of the game.
The whole defense played extremely consistent. The beginning of the game might’ve been a little shaky, but the defense was able to stay rough and diligent to help lead their squad to victory.
By the night was over, the defense collectively had averaged a plus-9 for the day. Every player knew their assignments and stuck with the position’s responsibilities.
Ever since defenseman Simon Despres has climbed back into game-action for Pittsburgh, the guy has looked like what they had envisioned him. Maybe the benching was the right move, because since returning to the lineup, he’s gathered a goal and a helper, while skating with a plus-5 rating.
New addition Zach Boychuk looked like the best fit for Malkin and Neal so far. His speed and his pass-first mentality really benefited the second line. A line that has already seen Eric Tangradi, Tyler Kennedy, Dustin Jeffrey and Tanner Glass this year.
Foreshadowing a little bit, Boychuk probably earned himself another start with the second line. If he’s not there next contest, it will be very surprising.
Only because it’s almost a lock that Kennedy and Matt Cooke will stay with Sutter on the third line. And the fourth line belongs to Glass, Joe Vitale and veteran Craig Adams.
The Devils came into the CONSOL Energy Center, first in the Atlantic, and forgot to bring their game.
But the Penguins shouldn’t think about this win too much. Understand that the next game is just as imperative as this one was.
Although I thought Pittsburgh did a another great job limiting turnovers and committing stupid penalties. At the start of the game, the Pens were slightly sloppy, but their play stabilized throughout the contest and they were only put in the box twice.
Puck management is something the team has had an issue with, as well as costly sin-bins. It is comforting to see the Pens learn from recent mistakes.
Hopefully from now on, they continue to keep confident and composed.
Next up for the Pens is the Washington Capitals, tomorrow in Washington at 12:30 p.m. on NBC.