Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Postgame: Devils 3 - Pittsburgh 0
Rich Chere's article in the Star Ledger highlights that the Devils made Sidney Crosby look ordinary. The article also notes that Crosby tried to stick up for his team by rubbing his hand in Cam Janssen's face. Personally, if Crosby did try to fight Janssen, it would likely not end well for Crosby as Janssen has height, weight, muscles, and fighting experience on the young superstar.
Patricia at 2 Man Advantage was (is?) very upbeat about the win and rather downbeat on Scott Gomez (warning: poo in link).
Patrik Elias did play last night and got an assist Brian Gionta's sweet backhand goal. Alex Brooks played on defense in Brad Lukowich's spot as Lukowich was moved up to the top pairing to replace Colin White. I was concerned to say the least when hearing of this, but Lukowich - and the defense in general - played very well. Martin Brodeur got his 85th shutout and his fifth of the season to tie Dominik Hasek with the league lead in shutouts. Cheers to him. Jeers to Jordan Staal who pulled a Hanson and tripped Brodeur for no reason at the end of the game. Rich Chere has a short article about that dirty play in the Star Ledger.
But enough of what others thought, what do I think? Well, the Devils played very well. The Penguins had a number of opportunities either muffed by the wingers, stopped by the Devils defense, or simply got robbed by Brodeur (or in Ryan Malone's case, the crossbar in Pittsburgh's best chance of the night). The Devils contained Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby well enough all game, which is very good to say the least. I was concerned that the Devils would try to win the game with a 1-0 lead, a score I felt would not be enough given the amount of offense Pittsburgh packs. But it was, and fortunately the Devils took advantage of some defensive breakdowns to get 2 more late in the third period.
I watched the game with a close friend who is a Penguins fan. He kept pointing out that Crosby and Malkin could really use more talented wingers than Ryan Malone, Nils Ekman, Colby Armstrong, and veteran Mark Recchi. I don't know. I'm kind of glad the Penguins' offensive talent is based at center otherwise last night probably would not have gone as well as it did. He also was disappointed with the Pittsburgh defense, and I can't blame him for that. The Pens could use a defender. Not to mention the team toughness; Crosby face-washing Janssen was the only physical response to a team that happily hit the Penguins all game long. What surprised both of us is that Penguins' head coach Michel Therrien did not put Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby on the same line to try and get a goal - something that would have tied things up as NJ didn't score their other 2 goals until later in the game.
While a 3-0 win is something to be happy about that even featured a goal from The Goal Scoring Machine That Is Jay Pandolfo (who had his 3rd goal against Pittsburgh this season), I have one point of criticism. The power play. 0 for 6 on the power play is not good for a team whose power play has been effective as of late. OK, the last power play opportunity came with 3 seconds left; but come on Devils. You got a man advantage, don't spend more than 30 seconds of it in your own zone trying to get a break out going.
Regardless, the team gets a few days of rest before taking on the Washington Capitals on Friday. A team that got destroyed 6-3 by Buffalo last night and who is playing Montreal tonight. They will be worked, to say the least. NJ should make the most of this little break.
Labels: Devils Postgame