The Pittsburgh Penguins were lackluster in their first two home games of the season, being outscored 9-3 in the process. Today, it was a completely different story as the Penguins defeated the New Jersey Devils 5-1 in dominating fashion.
This was truly a game of attrition for the Penguins as they wore down the Devils from start to finish. The Penguins controlled play in the first period, took a one goal lead after the second period, then blew the doors off the Devils in the third. In the process, the Penguins had a lot of firsts, both as a team and with individual players. Brandon Sutter scored his first goal as a member of the Penguins, Robert Bortuzzo scored his first goal in the NHL, and the Penguins won their first home game of the season.
The first period saw plenty of chances for the Penguins with Brandon Sutter having most of them. He had a shot on a wide open net only to have Marty Brodeur’s paddle deflect the puck away at the last second. Sutter would finally score early in the second period although it took extra time to have the goal credited to him.
Sutter chipped the puck past the New Jersey defenseman, Adam Larsson, in the offensive zone and retrieved it in time to get a shot on goal. Brodeur produced a rebound that was quickly chipped through his legs as he attempted to stack the pads. Originally, the goal was credited to Crosby but a replay showed Sutter had gotten his stick on the puck at the last second.
Chris Kunitz added his second goal of the season, taking advantage of a rare Anton Volchenkov miscue. Volchenkov tried to go D to D in his own zone but whiffed on the puck. Kunitz, who was forechecking on the play, stole the puck and whipped it five-hole on Brodeur to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead.
The Penguins had all the momentum, however it was quickly taken away after giving up a shorthanded goal less than three minutes later. Sidney Crosby’s turnover was pushed up ice to Danius Zubrus where he stopped along the boards and found Andy Greene cutting towards the net. Greene’s backhand shot easily beat Fleury to the cut the Penguins lead to one.
From there, it was pure domination by the Penguins.
The Devils would register just eight shots for the rest of the game and would finish with sixteen shots on goal. The Penguins would out hit the devils 23-17 and win the face off battle 34-21.
Kris Letang scored his second goal of the season 2:31 into the third period, beating Brodeur high on the glove side with a sniping wrist shot in the high slot. With the lead extended to two, the Penguins forced the Devils to come out of their shell, playing a more open style offensive game. And when the Devils made mistakes, the Penguins punished them.
Sidney Crosby led a two on one rush and picked the same corner on Brodeur as Letang did on the previous goal. Crosby cut towards the middle of the ice as Pascal Dupuis rushed the net and released a perfect snapshot past the glove hand of Brodeur.
Crosby would add a third point to his total on the day with an assist to Robert Bortuzzo’s first career goal. Crosby found Bortuzzo on the point who released a low, but hard, slap shot to beat Brodeur five-hole.
Despite the game being out of hand, Marc-Andre Fleury made a few excellent saves late in the game to keep the score 5-1, including a nifty glove save on David Clarkson. When the final horn sounded, the Penguins were number one in the Atlantic Division.
- Greene’s goal ended a Penguins shutout streak of 115 minutes, 8 seconds. (per Dave Molinari)
- Zach Boychuk made his debut with the Penguins, playing 12 minutes with one shot on goal.
- The Penguins have scored first in seven of their eight games this season.
- Sidney Crosby
- Chris Kunitz
- Robert Bortuzzo
Photo courtesy of NHL.com