New Jersey Devils
7:00 p.m., CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The Last Penguins Game:
January 31, 2013 - Pittsburgh 3, New York Rangers 0 [Recap]
The Penguins are coming off a huge win at MSG against the Rangers a few days ago but they are going to be trying to do something today that they haven't been able to do all season. Win at home. The Penguins have played some pretty bad hockey at the CONSOL Energy Center and although this will only be the teams third home game of the season they have been beat by both the Maple Leafs and Islanders, a pair of teams that most would say the Penguins should beat. I guess that is why they play the game but they have looked about as bad as you can in those contests so hopefully a division foe coming in will make a difference.
One thing you can say about the Devils this year that you don't normally see is that they are coming in on a three game losing streak but the Devils still don't have a regulation loss. They have lost the last three contests, all of which came in the shootout giving them an extra three points thanks to the pretty ridiculous NHL scoring system. That being said the Devils have a game in hand on the Penguins and are one point ahead of them in the standings at this early portion of the season.
The Devils will go with forever living goaltender Martin Brodeur who seems like he has been in the league forever but still seems to never break down and always seems to play good hockey. Brodeur hasn't played his best hockey of recent and in the Devils last two games he has given up nine goals but has posted a 2.32 goals against average and a .913 save percentage this season so the Penguins are going to have their hands full as they have had a hard time scoring goals.
Zach Boychuk will get his first ice time with the Penguins and he is going to be paired with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal. As I talked about in the last game preview Boychuk is an interesting player as he was first round draft pick of the Canes back in 2008 but has been very inconsistent. He has good speed and a decent shot by all accounts so it should be interesting to see how long it takes him to learn the system and get used to working with a pair of high end scorers.
Marc Andre Fleury will be in net. He had a tough night against the Islanders earlier in the week but he didn't get any help from the defense. It is an interesting dynamic that the Penguins have going with their goaltenders but the most part I think that both of them have played pretty well this year. Both have a few bumps and both have been the best player on the ice for games. I understand the wanting to get one goaltender in a groove but the Penguins are starting a streak where they are playing six games in nine days, including today, so both goaltenders are going to have to play at some point. No one goaltender on this team is going to be able to hold up playing those kind of games in that short of spans.
The Devils have not really been known as a great offense recently but with the signing of Ilya Kovalchuk and the complimentary pieces of Adam Henrique, Travis Zajac, and Patrik Elias the Devils can now put the puck in the back of the net instead of just sitting back in a trap and boring you to death.
The Probables: (both via Empty Netters)
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 - Kris Letang
Brooks Orpik - Paul Martin
Robert Bortuzzo - Deryk Engelland
Marc Andre Fleury
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 Last Time They Met:
March 25, 2012 - Pittsburgh 5, New Jersey 2