Penguins

Dealing with the Devils…

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The Penguins, who are coming off of an irritating loss to the Carolina Hurricanes last night, head into New Jersey with a chip on their shoulder. Sure they are angry about last night’s loss, but this chip has roots elsewhere.

The irritation that they are filled with today stems from the fact that they have gone 168:28 without scoring a goal against the Devils. An unbelievable stat for any team, let alone one that features two Art Ross Trophy winners along with an impressive supporting cast.

When you couple that scoring drought with the fact that the Penguins have dropped all four games against the Devils this season, you gain an understanding of why the Birds are frustrated.

“They’ve played some really good hockey against us,” Penguins winger Bill Guerin told the Post Gazette. “When they’re at their best, they’re playing a patient, clog-the-middle type of game. We’ve given in to our frustrations and played into their hands a bit.”

Losing patience and allowing that frustration to throw them off of their game has derailed the Penguins’ plan in each meeting this season. The Devils have tortured the them in the neutral zone, forced turnovers and capitalized on them.

If there is a silver lining to tonight’s meeting, it is that Nic Bergfors was shipped to Atlanta in the Ilya Kovalchuk deal. Sure number Kovy is a force to be reckoned with, but Bergfors owned the Penguins this season notching 7 points (4G-3A) in the four previous meetings.

Bergfors wasn’t the only one padding his stats in those victories, his line-mates did a pretty fair job themselves. Zach Parise and Travis Zajac combined for 13 points (3G-10A) in building the Devils 4-0 record against the Penguins.

In looking at the match-up, it is easy to let yourself think that tonight could be the night that the Penguins get into the win column. The two teams have seemingly been heading in opposite directions since before the Olympic break. The Penguins have been playing what could be their best hockey of the season, while the Devils and Marty Brodeur have struggled a bit.

This game takes on even more intrigue when you consider that these two teams are embroiled in a race for the Atlantic Division title. The Penguins currently hold a 4 point lead, but the Devils have two games in hand. I victory would go a long way towards helping both teams title aspirations.

It looks as if Tyler Kennedy could be missing his second straight game this evening and will be joining defenseman Jay McKee in the press box.

The goaltending match-up is slated to be Marc-Andre Fleury for the Penguins and Marty Brodeur for the Devils.

I will be back with more post game…

Quick bold prediction of the night: Penguins 3 Devils 2 as they end this losing streak against their division rivals.

Comments

About Brian Metzer

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Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Brian Metzer has been covering the Pittsburgh Penguins and National Hockey League since 2004. He is the host of Penguins Live Weekly, a show that airs Saturday mornings on 105.9 the X and iHeart Radio. He serves as the Pittsburgh Penguins correspondent for NHL Network Radio on SiriusXM, and is the NHL and Penguins correspondent for the Beaver County Times. Metzer is also a contributing writer for NHL.com and is the primary contributor for this site www.fromthepoint.com.

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17 Comments

  1. Walshy

    March 12, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    MAD had better start using games like this to prove he up on top of the pile of elite goalies. A lot of people font think he should have gone to Van, time to step up and show everyone that he is a ‘money’ goalie and makes the big save in the big games, Fuhr/Barrasso style

  2. Gunner Staal

    March 12, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    Does Goligoski EVER make decent plays on the power play? The answer to that is no. Can we not please see Letang in that spot, who by the way shoots right handed and can one time Crosby’s cross ice feeds.

  3. Walshy

    March 12, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    F’ing rebound control… Why not kick that into the corner???? If you can kick it to the slot why not the corner?!?!!

  4. Walshy

    March 12, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    Gunner, that would mean change… Yep does not handle PP change well…

  5. Gunner Staal

    March 12, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    Rough night again for the Pens. Doesnt help that it is a 2 goal game on interference.

  6. Walshy

    March 12, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    How does that get missed, surely the linesman can help on that glove call?

    That rebound was bad though, you cant kick that out into the slot.

    MAF’s rebound control has to be better if we are going to get past the 1st round this year.

  7. Eric

    March 12, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    Would You Please ask Shero why the **** Yeo Yeo is still here Ruining the PP & why Guerin that Corpse is still on the #1 PP

    Because Shero is the Reason Yeo Yeo is still Here, I don’t believe for a Minute the Happy Horse**** that Shero was Peddling that Bylsma wanted him Her, Lets see a Guy who you don’t Have enough Confidence in Naming him HC, Named IHC, But you trust him enough that You listen to his request to keep the Most Incompetent Member of the Coaching staff here

  8. Eric

    March 12, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    MAF is Back to His 50 Dollar crack Whore Goaltending going down on everything

  9. Walshy

    March 12, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    I have a feeling that 2 3 weeks of not playing has hurt Fleury a truckload…. Nice analogy though…

  10. Eric

    March 12, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Thanks, No MAF has been outplayed By Brent Johnson this season, BJ has a Better save % than MAF !! I sorry he is a Headcase & always will be, A Career Journeyman backup Goalie has a Better save % than Your “Supposed” star Goalie That doesn’t bode well for the playoffs & the PP will Kill them in the Playoffs

  11. Walshy

    March 12, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    I wouldnt go that far, he was awesome at the start of the year when we were red hot. In fact he covered a lot of defensive holes we had.

    If you have a look when we went cold it was when he went cold. Everyone got on the D cores back as more and more pucks got behind MAF because he didnt make those more than hard saves.

    Now he just looks like a back up. Almost every good teams plays better in front of their back up, BJ is going to have better stats as he plays way fewer games, give him a starters work load and his stats will drop way off.

    MAF really needs to pick it up though or we are not going to go very far this play off run…

    MAF and Geno are no where near where they were this time last year and it really shows.

  12. Eric

    March 12, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    NO MAF isn’t as Good as BJ I’m sorry, The Guy has Not played well since the 1st month of the season

  13. Walshy

    March 12, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    So you want to run the playoffs with BJ as the starter?

    You will feel more confident with BJ in net?

    That is what your saying?

  14. Eric

    March 12, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    You Know until his Last Game Walshy BJ hasn’t had a Game where he caused his team to lose, How Many Games Has MAF lost for them

    But STILL the Biggest Problem is the PP & has been for 2 seasons & the ONLY constant is Yeo Yeo

  15. Eric

    March 12, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    I Hear the “Supposed” Hockey Experts on the Radio & TV talk about the Pens as the Favorite in the east & I just don’t see it!!

    Malkin has been Subpar all season, Guerin if he was anymore of a Corpse out there they would shoot him full of Formaldehyde !!

    MAF has Been Less Than Stellar, Gonchar has STUNK & the PP Blows Dead Goats

    Not exactly a formula for Winning the SC

  16. Walshy

    March 12, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    MAF has not ‘won’ enough games for his team this year. Or given his team a chance to win. That I cannot argue at all. After that first month he has been only an average starter.

    Everything else you said is spot on. Gonch hasnt been that bad, but the PP needs something to shake it up for sure, and I dont know how we are the fav either, that makes no sense at all!?!?!!!

  17. Jmw66

    March 13, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    I think they can still pull it together but holy crap I can’t believe they zero and friggin five against the Devils this year.