Sometimes you need your goaltender to win you a game. Tonight Marc-Andre Fleury won the Penguins a hockey game. The Penguins played about 10 good minutes of hockey and then the Devils pretty much controlled the rest of the game. They outshot the Penguins 30-11 over the second and third periods and outside of a few minute span where New Jersey actually found the back of the net to start the second it was MAF shutting the door.
New Jersey scored two goals 56 seconds apart in the first five minutes of the second period and it was time for the Penguins to buckle up. They barely did enough to squeeze by. The Devils threw an unreal amount of shots at goal and when Fleury wasn't stopping them the Penguins were blocking shots. They ended the night with 26 blocked shots to go along with the two goals and 37 saves from Fleury. That doesn't even include the missed shots. Through two periods the Devils had 51 attempted shots and while I didn't pick up the final number I am sure it was significant. You can get by winning some games like this and having your goaltender steal the show but this doesn't happen all that often.
When you are talented as the Penguins are sometimes it only takes a good stretch of the game to win it. The Penguins dominated the first 10 minutes of the game and they scored the first three goals of the game and while some might have thought it was a runaway it was just enough. The Devils just didn't show up at all. Cory Schneider looked like he was generally surprised that shots were coming at him and it resulted in a few really bad goals. Good for the Penguins.
Evgeni Malkin didn't show up on the scoresheet but he was outstanding tonight. He was all over the ice and almost found the back of the net on numerous occasions. He had an outstanding month of November and that has translated in a good month of December so far. He did miss a few games with an injury but he looks fresh and healthy and it is really good to see.
The bottom six really had a nice game for the Penguins tonight. Chris Connor scored a goal and was set up on a great play from Brandon Sutter and while he was playing on the second line Jayson Megna scored a goal and almost had a few others. It was really a full team victory tonight as all but two players had 10 minutes of ice time and one of them, Zach Sill, played 9:45. The Penguins have been pretty top heavy with the Sidney Crosby line and whomever is playing with Malkin carrying the way but tonight it was a little bit of everyone tonight which was very good to see.
The Penguins are back on the ice in like six seconds as they play back-to-back games. They just had like five days off so they should be pretty fresh coming out tomorrow night.