Monday, November 05, 2007

Pens v Devils (W 5-0)

Tonight the New Jersey Devils welcomed the Penguins to their new Prudential Center (The Rock). Again, I will be recapping this game in between periods, as I think it's nice for you late-nighters to have the recap available immediately following the game.

The game began with a interference call on Sergei Gonchar (a call that prompted Coach Michel Therrien to say what looked to me and my husband like "Bad f*cking call!"). The Devils did not score on the power play. Shortly after the penalty ended, after the whistle ended the next play, Adam Hall tripped or fell (I didn't see what caused it) and slid into the boards - HARD. Hall was no worse for wear, however, as it didn't even seem to phase him. Evgeni Malkin had a great chance and shot the puck on goal, but Martin Brodeur made the save. Later, the Pens were all over the goal, and Brodeur was way out of position when the Pens got a shot, but John Madden sacrificed his body and lay down in front of the goal to block it. Big Georges Laraque took the second penalty of the night when he exchanged "pleasantries" (read: a punch in the head) with Arron Asham. Asham did not take the bait, and the Devils would go on the power play. The Devils did not score on this chance, either.

At the end of Laraque's penalty, Sid was out on the penalty killing unit. He made some sweet spinning moves, but didn't get a score. The Devils finally made their first mistake of the night when David Clarkson was penalized for holding the stick of Alain Nasreddine. Sidney would make the Devils pay for the infraction by scoring a power play goal. The Pens now have at least one power play goal in each of the 14 games of this season so far. Additionally, Sidney has scored at least a point in 13 games in a row. (The only game he didn't get a point in was the 1st game.) Sid has a long way to go to meet his landlord's record of 46 games in a row with a point. Near the end of the first, Hall scored on a redirect on a shot from Brooks Orpik. The period ended with the Penguins up 2-0. (Normally, I would be excited about that, but remember that they were leading by 2 goals after the first period in the last two games, both of which they then went on to lose by a goal.)

Sid celebrates his first goal of the night.

The second period started with a few good chances by both teams. A few minutes into the period, the Devils turned the puck over to Malkin, who was in the Devils' zone with Petr Sykora. Malkin was on his way towards Brodeur when he was tripped, earning a delayed penalty. But, you know Malkin - he's got his own moves that are as insane and incredible as Saint Sid's. As he fell, he landed on his knees and passed the puck behind his back to Sykora, who promptly negated the penalty by blasting the puck behind Brodeur. The blind pass from Malkin would become the play of the game, and the score was now 3-0. Later, Mike Mottau was assessed a high sticking penalty for clocking Mark Recchi in the face with his stick. There was a moment when the puck was on the goal line, but Brodeur was able to use his toe to kick it out. Since the entire puck must be over the goal line, it was not a goal. The Pens did not score on the power play, but just afterwards, a give and go between Maxime Talbot and Erik "Crusher" Christensen resulted in a goal that Crusher blasted past Brodeur. The score was now 4-0, and I finally began to relax.

Then Vitaly Vishnevski had a big hit on Tyler Kennedy almost simultaneously as Zach Parise high-sticked Orpik. Immediately on the ensuing power play, Gary Roberts had a chance, but he rang it off the goal post. The Penguins did not score on this power play, and the period would end with the Pens leading 4-0.

The third period began with the Penguins just owning the puck in the Devils' zone. Three and a half minutes into the third, Orpik sent a blind pass to Sidney, who promptly smacked it into the net behind Brodeur. The score was now 5-0. After allowing 5 goals on 24 shots, Brodeur was pulled from the ice in favor of putting Kevin Weekes in between the pipes. Then, on the next play, Weekes had to face a BLAST of a shot from Malkin, who would have scored had the puck not hit the crossbar. (I think that ring could be heard all the way back in Pittsburgh!!!) Later, Roberts had a great chance, but Weekes made a great glove save.

Sir Sidney skates at The Rock.

Clarkson got called for tripping Mark Eaton, and the Pens went on the advantage yet again. The Pens were unable to score on this power play. Immediately after the Devils killed that penalty, Parise tried to make a mark on the board, but was unable to do so. Later, Rob Scuderi fired a shot on goal, but Weekes made another great save. The Penguins would go on the power play yet again. Crusher tried to score with a one-timer, but missed the goal. Staal made a shot down low, but again Weekes denied him. The Pens would not score on this power play, either. The Rock announced the attendance at 14,000 - not exactly a sellout game in the 17,000+ capacity arena. With 5 minutes left in the third period and the Penguins up 5 - zip, it looks as though 10,000 of those people have already left the building.

Crusher gunned a hard shot on goal, but he was just wide of the goal. Coach Therrien likes to mix up the lines (A LOT) but just as he found something in the Malkin-Crosby-Malone line, it appears that the Recchi-Roberts-Christensen line seems to be a good match, too. Crusher got assessed a holding penalty with just over 2 minutes left to go in the third period. During the last minute of the power play, there were Penguins bodies literally flying everywhere trying to prevent the Devils from scoring. The Penguins ended up taking another penalty with 30 seconds left to go in the period. The Devils found themselves having 14 seconds with a 2 man advantage. The Penguins won the faceoff and cleared the puck. The last 30 seconds of that period seemed to last for 30 years, but FINALLY the clock ticked down and Penguins goaltender Dany Sabourin earned his first NHL shutout.

Now, some of you might think I have issues, but as I was writing, I intentially didn't mention Sabourin because I didn't want to jinx him. Now that the game is over and he has earned that shutout, I can tell you that he made some AWESOME saves. He stopped all 20 shots on goal by the Devils. (You can check out the NHL game summary for all the stats from tonight's game.) His glove save is AMAZING. His experience playing short stop really shows, as he simply catches the puck in his glove like it is second nature. Even though the season is still young, this is a big win. The Pens finally return home to Pittsburgh and face cross-state rivals the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday.


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