Gameday #13 Recap: v. New Jersey Devils, the Walking Dead Resumed Yesterday

The Pens ran up against a really good team that is playing really good hockey. It’s not any different than last Saturday when the Pens, a really good team playing really good hockey, destroyed the Devils 5-1.

You don’t like it because all of a sudden the Pens are a large 3 points behind the Devils for the Division and Conference lead, but honestly, the Pens really played a fairly solid game. Get the breakdown after the jump.


First Period.

4 seconds into the game and Robert Bortuzzo dropped the mitts with Ryan Carter, this was some retribution from a hit that Bortz laid on Carter yesterday, for being his first NHL scrap Bortz looked pretty good.

Throughout the first period the Pens were in control, they were crushing it in offensive zone time and had lots of shots. Unfortunately Johann Hedberg was in the net for the Devils, in 6 periods coming into the game he had allowed one goal.

About half way through the period Engo made what looked like a good pinch, but then the Pens still ended up losing control of the puck. Two on one with David Clarkson and someone else coming back against Bortuzzo. There’s no doubt that Bortuzzo has all the potential in the world but he was a little helpless on this one. In his postgame interview Vokoun took the blame (speaking of his interview, his poise was unreal).

Pens ended the period on the PP, they seemed to have the possession, but the Devils were packing it down and the Pens couldn’t get any shots through.

Second Period.

Don’t really remember what happened except that Kovalchuk got into a one on one with Orpik, sniped it right between Vokoun’s legs. Literally nobody’s fault on that one, Kovalchuk is just good.

Someone took a penalty and the Devils didn’t miss a beat picking up where they left off. Really unlucky bounce on a weak shot to the net and Clarkson didn’t miss a beat. Really starting to hate how good he is.

The Devils totally out-Penguin-ed the Penguins in the second period. Looked like they held the puck for 15 minutes in the period.

Pens ended the period on the power play again.

Third Period.

Smooth passing set up a classic James Neal snipe in the first seconds of the third. You could almost begin to feel that this could be a comeback effort.

The Pens followed it up with some more good shifts, but then the Devils got back to their game. They were able to keep the puck out of their defensive zone and it took the Pens a long time to get back to playing their kind of game. Before long though the game was over.

Thoughts/Notes.

  • Pens look to be hurting in the absence of both Niskanen and Letang. They’re the most dynamic d-men on the Pens and no matter how good Bortuzzo, Despres, and Reese have looked none of them can do what either of those guys can do.
  • Paul Martin continues to be the Penguins’ best defenseman. Logged another 28+ minutes and looked pretty good doing it. He could finish top 10 TOI in the league if he’s not careful.
  • I’m gonna say it, I think the Pens need to take a look at Beau Bennett on a line with Geno and Neal. We like Zach Boychuk’s game, but I like him as a guy who can step in and play on the third line, to possibly make Tyler Kennedy available as a trade piece, but he doesn’t show the scoring touch needed to make it with those guys.
  • The Pens played pretty good in this game, there was just a subtle interplay of bad luck (both of Clarkson’s goals, a couple of bouncing pucks in the offensive zone), fatigue, and injuries that kept them from winning this one.
  • The Devils are a really good team, don’t get too worked up about this loss.
  • Huge 2 day break before the Pens play again.
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