NHL: New Jersey Devils Versus Pittsburgh Penguins Preview
If this is the first NHL game you'll watch this season, it might look like a bit of a mismatch when looking at the standings. However, one who has followed these teams will understand that this Atlantic division rivalry between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New Jersey Devils has not skipped a beat one bit. Tonight should be no different, as the battle will be resumed in Newark.
Clearly, the Devils are having an uncharacteristic season, as they were off to a horrendous start. Since the New Year, however, the Devils have transformed back to their true form. Unfortunately it isn't enough to redeem their season. The Penguins have experienced a different journey, as they have been able to consistently perform at a winning level the entire season. Even despite missing their two major superstars in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh is still finding ways to grind out victories.
Something that has remained strikingly constant whenever these two teams matchup, is the importance of defense in their game styles. Of the last ten meetings, regardless of lineup and goaltending, eight of the game totals have been under five goals, and four of them have resulted in shutouts.
Tonight, Johan Hedberg is expected to start for the Devils, but that does not even matter. The Devils play a trap defense style which forces most of the shots to the outside, making a goalie's job much easier. Nothing should change tonight, as New Jersey will play one of their biggest rivals, so they will have every intention to win even despite not being able to make a push for the postseason. The Penguins will go with their number one, Marc-Andre Fleury, who has been outstanding as of late. With their top scorers out, they will find continue to find it difficult to break the trap, as they did in their last meeting (Which resulted in a 1-0 shootout loss).
Do not expect a goal scoring frenzy in this one.
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