Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mean Green

The Devils brought their retro uniforms, the Penguins brought their retro team. The Penguins resembled their old ways of sloppy play and many turnovers in the "Pre Bylsma Era" as they lost 5-2 to the New Jersey Devils Wednesday night. The game was a polar opposite from last Friday's game which involved focused, hard defense from the Penguins but penalty trouble and shooting inaccuracy prevented them from winning. Tonight, the Penguins took only 2 penalties for 4 minutes but could not keep from turning the puck over many times, 3 of which lead to Devil's breakaway goals. The Penguins did get off to a good start with Chris Kunitz wristing in a Billy Guerin rebound, but that is about all that could be said for their efforts. The collapse started when Kris Letang had his pocket picked at the blue line by Dainius Zubrus, who scored on Fleury to tie up the game. The Pens also gave up a late goal with under 2 minutes remaining in the 1st to Paul Martin, this time because of line changing difficulty. The collapse continued when Patrick Elias scored a shorthanded goal about 3 minutes into the second period after stealing the puck in the neutral zone. The Penguins gave up one more goal to Zach Parise in the second, as he wristed one past backup Brent Johnson. The Pens did make a push towards the end, however, as Ruslan Fedotanko scored to make it a two goal game under 6 minutes into the third. They also had a chance at the end to score on a 5 minute major powerplay after Alex Goligoski was boarded by Rod Pelley. They were unable to convert on this chance, and Rob Niedermayer of the Devils would later net an empty netter to seal the game. This loss meant that the Penguins were swept by New Jersey this season, losing all 6 games played between the two teams. This could become a major setback in the division race later on in the year, as the two teams are neck and neck for the division lead and second place in the east. The Penguins next play tomorrow night against the Boston Bruins in the first game since the incident between Matt Cooke and Marc Savard. I would expect Marc-Andre Fleury to start, as he was pulled midway throught the second tonight, possibly to save his energy for tomorrow. Evgeni Malkin's status for Boston is unknown, as he was skating in practice but did not play tonight in New Jersey. So far the Penguins have earned 3 out of a possible 8 points on this road trip, so tomorrow's game should be extremely important in that way as well.

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