The value of Eric Godard to the Pittsburgh Penguins was evidenced tonight. Bobby Jokelik, Dainius Zubrus, David Clarkson, and some Leach guy took advantage of the Penguins' enforcer-less lineup tonight.
Jokelik cleanly hit Kris Letang behind the net, but followed through with a cheap shot, landing the shaft of his stick square on the chops of No. 58.
Early in the game, Clarkson was starting stuff with Talbot, but Max wouldn't drop the mitts. Leach was laying the body and Jokemie Langenbrunner took a couple whacks at Letang's wrists.
If the Godardfather was in the lineup tonight, he would have been on the ice to restore order. Instead, Tim Wallace got to play his first National Hockey League game in front of his mom and dad, who didn't even arrive at the arena until the third period. At least they didn't have any trouble getting good seats in the underpopulated Prudential Center.
The value of the goal post to Scott Clemmensen's job as the Devils' starting goaltender was also made evident.
The Devils stayed hot, picking up their eighth win in their last nine contests. The Pens dropped their third game in a row.
Sidney Crosby had a hat trick in his last meeting with the Devils. John Madden was not in the lineup. Madden was in the lineup tonight.
Crosby smoked Madden down the middle of the ice early in the game, but clam shell made a save.
Dany Sabourin, starting his fifth consecutive game, made two big saves on Brian Gionta and Zach Parise at the other end of the rink.
Alex Goligoski tapped his stick, calling for the puck on the left boards. BLJ sent him a pass. Goligoski turned the puck over and the Devils got a scoring chance but Sabou said no.
The Pens started generating some momentum in the offensive zone, thanks to a solid shift from their third line. Jordan Staal had a great scoring chance, but...
Letang was a beast in the first period: six blocks, two hits. Why he wasn't on the top power play unit after scoring the big goal the other night will be on next week's episode of Unsolved Mysteries.
The second period was a typical Penguins' second period. Nothing happened for the first 15 minutes, then Clemmensen was called for delaying the game. This was a terrible call, which was pretty much on par with 80 percent of the calls made in this game.
On the ensuing power play, Staal had a loose puck wander onto his stick in the slot. Staal turned to fire the puck on net and...
Upon reviewing the replay, it was clear that Langenbrunner was offside on the play. Another blown call by the officiating crew. It's not an excuse for the loss, but it might have at least delayed the first goal of the game.
A minute later, the Devils threw in another warm puck, which once again took a big bounce off the rubber boards. Brooks Orpik had the presence of mind to clean up the crease, preventing any more damage from occurring.
The Devils didn't waste any time extending their lead in the third period, as Parise deflected a Bryce Salvador slap shot past Sabourin to make it 2-0 Devils.
Zubrus scored at the mid way point of the period, setting the stage for another Penguins' comeback attempt.
Crosby set up shop in front of the net, slipped behind Paul Martin, and saw a rebound bounce right onto his tape. Sid peered into a gaping cage, shot the puck, and...
Evgeni Malkin thought otherwise, though. Malkin took the puck, one against the world, down the left wing. He skated hard toward the net and through the puck between his legs toward the front of the net.
Matt Cooke was trailing the play and chipped in the loose puck, eliminating Clemmensen's hopes of a shutout.
The Pens pushed hard for the next three minutes, but New Jersey playing with a two goal lead in the third period is like playing Russian Roulette with a bullet in every chamber, you're going to lose.
Patrik FAILias added an empty netter to seal the deal. Both Devils' fans in the arena cheered. Mrs. Wallace punched her husband in the head for wasting $300 on plane tickets from Alaska to Newark.
Final Score: New Jersey 4 Pittsburgh 1
- Letang = Norris Trophy Winner
- Godard needs to be in the lineup every time against Atlantic Division rivals. There's no excuse for dressing Tim Wallace when you're trying to snap a two-game skid, especially against an aggressive team like the Devils.
- All jokes aside, Bryce Salvador took a puck to the face in the third period. It looked nasty, and Salvador was obviously disoriented as he left the ice. Hopefully, he's alright.
- Seeing Talbot skate away from Clarkson instead of dropping the mittens was a little discouraging. Max needs a wake up call, perhaps a healthy scratch is in his near future.
- Hitting the post three times in one game sucks, but it's not an excuse for losing.
- Staal had a couple of good chances tonight, and Cooke was flying around as usual. The absence of Tyler Kennedy on the third line is glaringly clear. Sorry Chris Minard, you're a career AHL'er.
- If John Curry doesn't start tomorrow night, he must have banged Therrien's wife. Sabou didn't play badly tonight, but he's just not winning games right now.
- Jeff Taffe > Janne Pesonen
- The officiating in the Pens' recent games, and around the league in general, has been horrendous lately.
- Letang led the Pens in ice time again tonight with over 24 minutes. He's slowly becoming one of the top young premier two-way defensemen in the game right now.
- The Pens resume action tomorrow night at Mellon Arena against the Isles. God(ard) help us all.