The Penguins are a staggering 22-10-1, 7-2-1 in their last 10. They’re beginning to pull away in the Metro Division again.
The current top six is Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz, Megna, Jokinen and the remains of Pascal Dupuis. The defense is riddled with injuries. And yet they just keep winning games. A rather interesting trend developing is the Penguins surging out to large leads and then basically just playing with their food and hoping they don't choke. In this one, much like the San Jose game, they jumped out to a lead and hung on.
One thing that can't be disputed is the goaltending they are getting from Marc-Andre Fleury. He very well may be playing the best hockey of his career. It’s something no one could have predicted except maybe that sports psychologist. In previous years, maybethe Penguins lose this game. But Fleury stole the third. Every time it seems the Pens are going to collapse, he’s been steadying them.
Do you play Zatkoff tonight in Detroit?
– Cory Schneider has been bitching about playing time in New Jersey. He responded to those comments by giving up maybe the weakest goal in NHL history. Kunitz dumped a puck on net 40 seconds in. No clue what happened.
— It was all Pens all the time for the first 10 minutes.
They added another goal when the Devils forgot about Chris Conner.
2-0. Great pass by Sutter from the boards. Devils were in la-la land.
– Kris Letang is finally finding his defensive game. He was good in the first period. He had a nice hit on some guy.
– The Penguins continued to dominate, and they would cash in again. Jokinen and Malkin were cycling, and the puck found its way to Despres. Despres fired on net. Megna cashed in.
Schneider was close to offing himself after the goal. He was trying to make his case for Megna interfering with him. Get real. 3-0.
– The Penguins got goals from the top three lines but from the unusual suspects.
– Shots were 12-7 in favor of the Pens.
– All of a sudden, with about a minute left the Devils started coming.
– The second and third periods were a whole different animal. As good as the Penguins were in the first period, they simply weren't in the second period. They were outshot 19-5.
– The Devils started back after Maatta got whistled for only his third penalty of the season. They had a good power play and built some momentum. It was only a matter of time, and then the Devils scored. Elias.
– The Devils weren't done. About one minute later, Double J got one to the net. Zubrus tapped it home. 3-2.
Time-out by Bylsma to readjust, and in the grand scheme of things, it did the job. Zach Sill blew someone up, so that was cool.
With 11:58 remaining in the second period, Kunitz took a penalty, The Penguins’ PK has been lights-out, and they were all the difference here. If the Devils score, they probably win the game. Instead they PK held their ground. How good has Simon Despres been?
Rest of the second was all Devils, but Fleury was all business.
The Saves of Marc-Andre Fleury
These saves were the difference in the third. They both were results of breakdowns by the Penguins. This was bound to happen.
The first one was this beauty:
The second save came about five minutes later. One-on-one.
Right after this save, Crosby smoked someone and had a chance for the insurance goal. No goal, though. How long before someone starts a "Did Sidney Crosby score on a breakaway yet?” Tumblr, Twitter, or full-blown website?
Fleury got tested ever more after the Crosby chance, but he was in the Devils’ heads.
Jagr may have been the most dangerous alive in the final minutes. He had unlimited chances. He and Elias juuuuust missed connecting for the tying goal with about 4 seconds left. Too bad.
– Great to see seondary scoring drive the Pens to a win.
– Kris Letang looks different with Orpik out. He is the elder statesman on the blue line now, so they probably said, "Hey, man, play defense."
– Detroit Rock City.