New Jersey Devils
1:00 p.m., Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey
The Penguins Last Game:
February 7, 2013 - Pittsburgh 5, Washington 2 [Recap]
After the Penguins took care of a few teams that they "should" win against they are going to get a much bigger test this weekend when they go after the New Jersey Devils in a home-and-home set. To many peoples surprise, including mine, all the Devils do is keep winning hockey games and in their first ten games they only have one regulation loss. That loss, to the Penguins. Boosh.
While the Penguins were able to hold their own against the Capitals and the Islanders they will have to play a pretty overlooked offensive talent in the Devils without both Kris Letang and Matt Niskanen. While we all knew that Niskanen wasn't going to be back Letang was unable to finish the morning skate on Thursday and missed the game against the Capitals and from what I am seeing he didn't make the trip to New Jersey so it will be another game for Dylan Reese. Reese was pretty good against the Capitals and with the emergence of Robert Bortuzzo the loss of Letang doesn't hurt that bad but hopefully he gets back soon. While I think the Penguins can hold off the fort for a short period of time but if this Letang thing is something more longterm then they might have problems despite how good the Paul Martin and Brooks Orpik have been.
I would have to assume that the Devils are going to come out and play some better hockey than they did in the first meeting against the Penguins. The Pens absolutely shut down the New Jersey offense and held them to 16 total shots and they didn't have more than six shots in any single period.
In the last meeting the first line did a ton of work and between Pascal Dupuis, Chris Kunitz and Sidney Crosby they accounted for two goals and six assists and they have been rolling of recent. Lets not even ignore the fact that James Neal and Evgeni Malkin have been getting stuff done the Penguins have a lot of options to turn to at the top of the lineup.
All told this is a set of games with two of the top teams in the Atlantic battling it out. The Devils have a game in hand on the Penguins and are only one point back so the Penguins can really put some space in between themselves and the Devils.
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis
Zach Boychuk - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Matt Cooke - Brandon Sutter - Tyler Kennedy
Tanner Glass - Joe Vitale - Craig Adams
Simon Despres - Dylan Reese
Brooks Orpik - Paul Martin
Robert Bortuzzo - Deryk Engelland
Marc Andre Fleury
New Jersey (6-1-3)
Adam Henrique - Travis Zajac - Ilya Kovalchuk
Dainius Zubrus - Patrik Elias - David Clarkson
Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier
Krys Barch - Jacob Josefson - Peter Harrold
Bryce Salvador - Anton Volchenkov
Andy Greene - Adam Larsson
Henrik Tallinder - Marek Zidlicky
The Season Series (Pittsburgh leads 1-0-0)
February 2, 2013 - Pittsburgh 5, New Jersey 1