New Jersey came into tonight’s game two points ahead of the Penguins and in the second wild card spot. They ended it out of a playoff position and tied with a team sitting two games behind them.
Tonight the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the New Jersey Devils 2-0 at home. Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel notched the two goals while Marc-Andre Fleury tallied his fourth shutout of the season for the team’s third straight win.
Some familiar faces made their way back to CONSOL Energy Center tonight, this time on the wrong side. Lee Stempniak, Bobby Farnham, and Tyler Kennedy (healthy scratch) are among the former Penguins who now don Devils jerseys, along with general manager Ray Shero and head coach John Hynes.
Farnham and Stempniak both came out firing. Farnham found many good chances early on while the dangerous duo of Stempniak and Mike Cammellari was a constant offensive presence. Despite a blank scoreboard, the Devils took early control of the game and wore down the Pens, leading Crosby to take a penalty midway through the first.
Probably accustomed to slow starts by now, Fleury stood on his head time and time again to keep the game scoreless. The Penguins went without a shot for over ten minutes in the first period as their offensive weapons short-circuited yet again.
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On the other hand, the rejuvenated power play struck hard, as Sidney Crosby got his 17th goal of the season on only the third Pittsburgh shot of the game at 15:27 of the first. Patric Hornqvist and Kris Letang (in his first game back from another injury) grabbed the assists on a beautiful goal.
Cory Schneider was no slouch, though. The New Jersey goalie also made a string of highlight reel saves throughout the game, turning it more into a “battle of the goalies” than anything else.
The second line’s chemistry was obvious again tonight, as Carl Hagelin and Phil Kessel combined for the insurance marker in a crazy burst of speed. Kessel, who won the Fastest Skater competition in the All-Star Game in the past, and
Hagelin, who was primarily acquired for his speedy skating skills, proved too much for the Devils’ defense.
Hagelin has quickly proved his worth, clicking with his new linemates Kessel and Evgeni Malkin in a way that David Perron never managed to. If the second line keeps chugging along like this, they’ll become one of the most consistently threatening lines in the league.
In other notes, Letang was hit by a puck and appeared to be in discomfort on the bench. He did not leave the game, but as we all know even the smallest of injuries can prove to be serious for the star defenseman.