The only thing that has chased Marty Brodeur more than the Pittsburgh Penguins in recent history is his sister-in-law's husband.
The Pens once again embarrassed the "greatest goaltender in hockey history" by potting six goals en route to their 13th victory in the last 16 games.
The Devils had lost five in a row coming into tonight's contest in the icy confines of the Mellon Arena, so you knew they were going to come out hard early on.
A John Madden pancake block, I mean hi-sticking penalty, put the Devils' early pressure to rest just three minutes into the game.
The Pens came up empty on the power play, but Dan Bylsma threw out a makeshift line combination of Matt Cooke-Max Talbot-Ruslan Fedotenko after the man advantage had ended.
The three role players responded by doing what they're supposed to do in order to earn their paycheck from the National Hockey League: getting the puck deep and going to work.
Talbot worked the puck out of the corner to the front of the net where Cookie slipped a sneaky backhander between the pillows of Brojoke to give the Pens an early one goal advantage.
36 second later, Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz set up a nice give-and-go at the Devils blue line. Kunitz dropped the puck back to his line mate and the Bad Ass Billy Guerin beat Brodeur over the shoulder to give the Pens the worst lead in hockey, 2-0.
A couple of minutes later, Brian Gionta built a camp fire in the Penguins' crease, camped out, woke up in the morning, and snuck a puck past Marc-Andre Fleury to pull the Devils to within one.
You could have vomited at the visions of a 3-2 Devils' victory running through your head.
Jamie Langenbrunner hooked up someone and the Pens' power play hit the ice once again.
Sergei Gonchar made a sick play to hold the puck in at the Devils' blue line and Evgeni Malkin scooped up the loose biscuit on the half wall.
Geno waited with the patience of a member of the Sutter family in the family reunion buffet line, snuck into the high slot and wristed the puck through Brojoke to re-establish the Pens' two goal lead.
Near the end of the period, Dainus Zubrus forgot how to keep his head up in the neutral zone and ran into the hip of Brooks Orpik.
Apparently the clean hit was ruled to be away from the puck and Orpik was awarded two minutes for interference. Fine. But the extra two minutes for roughing, are you serious?
Zubrus took exception to the hit and gave Brooks a face wash after the whistle, to which Brooks responded by telling him to recruit a defenseman who doesn't leave his forwards hanging out to dry in the neutral zone with the NHL's biggest hitting defenseman on the ice.
The Pens killed off the Orpik penalty to start the second period, and got right back to work.
Midway through the period, Mike Rupp went off for roughing and the power play hit the ice again.
Gonch slid the puck to the left point to Kris Letang, who kept his head up and fired a perfectly placed slap-pass to the front of the net.
The puck found the right skate of Crosby, and then tickled the twine behind Martin Short to extend the Pens' lead to three goals.
Before Brodeur had a chance to re-engage in his absent-minded fantasies of banging his sister-in-law, Ruslan Fedotenko fired a puck off of his left pad and Jordan Staal picked up the garbage in front of the net making it 5-1 Pens.
Brent Sutter called a timeout to ask Brodeur if he wanted to stay in the game. Apparently he did. Wrong choice.
After the TO, Rob Scuderi sent Zubrus head over heels with a solid hip check just inside the Pens' blue line. This was the third time Zubrus was the victim of an embarrassing check, but it wouldn't be the last.
At the end of the period, Orpik blew a tire behind the Pens' net while chasing down a loose puck. He slid across the ice to the far boards, where Bobby Jokelik took the liberty of introducing his shin pad to Brooks' chin.
Orpik and Holik exchanged words, as did David Clarkson and Crosby, but what came next might have been more embarrassing than the league's "best goaltender of all-time" cheating on his wife with her sister.
Devils' coach Brent Sutter came out to center ice and got in the face of two officials, a beer vendor, and Iceburgh. Sutter's efforts were rewarded with a two minute misconduct penalty, and an even more absent enthusiasm from his team in the third period.
Holik is the dirtiest player in the National Hockey League, hands down. Why is it that Eric Godard seems to be scratched for every Devils game?
After the intermission, the Devils came back out on the ice to skate around for 20 minutes. The Pens came back out to finish the game strong.
Bylsma was chewing guys out for not back checking hard enough in a 5-1 hockey game. What a coach.
The early period power play was erased by a roughing call on Crosby for toppling over Brodeur. Whatever.
Seven minutes into the period, Sid gained the blue line and just threw the puck toward the net. So much for rebound control from the "league's best goaltender".Brodeur coughed up a fat rebound and Pascal Dupuis tapped the puck to Kunitz in front of the net.
Kunitz buried it for his 23rd goal of the season, and the Pens coasted to victory.
Malkin layed a solid shoulder check into Zubrus, sending the big man on his back pocket for the fourth time in the game.
Geno also capped off another great end-to-end performance by adding three takeaways to his league leading total. Ovechkin doesn't even back check, let alone create turnovers.
Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has just left the building.
Final Score: Pens 6 Devils 1
- Fedotenko only played just over eight minutes in the game tonight and I can't remember seeing him on the ice in the third period. Anyone know what the story is there?
- How Zach Parise has scored over 40 goals this season became even more evident tonight, the Devils have no one else even remotely capable of creating offense.
- Flower stopped 24 of 25 shots. He hasn't played a bad game since sometime in January.
- Max Talbot picked up another assist tonight. He has really elevated his game over the past couple of weeks, a good sign for the Penguins' depth chart heading into the playoffs.
- The Flyers lost tonight, putting the Penguins' in a virtual tie for fourth place. Philthadelphia still holds a game in hand over the Pens.
- Has anyone seen Petr Sykora? If so, tell him the Stanley Cup playoffs start in two weeks and he is still a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins' roster.
- Huge weekend coming up with games against the Canes and Panthers.
- Brendan Shanahan needs to retire.
- The Devils will not make it out of the first round of the playoffs. Take that to the bank.
Let's Go Pens