Veteran goalie Martin Brodeur continued to add to his impressive resume of career shut-outs, capturing number 114 as the Devils downed the Penguins 2-0 in New Jersey.
The Devils first goal came less than two minutes into the first period (1:22) when Brian Rolston ripped a slap shot past goalie Brent Johnson. The only other goal of the game came less than eight minutes later (9:51) after former-Devil-turned-Penguin defenseman Paul Martin banked a shot off the boards which was intercepted by Nick Palmieri . The rookie had no problem beating Johnson with a backhander, bringing the score to 2-0 where it would remain for the rest of the game. (If we must find a sliver lining, at least the goal disparity didn’t get any greater. I’m trying to be optimistic here!)
The loss snapped a three game winning streak for the Penguins who were without both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin for the first time since the 2006-2007 season (because, hey, hearing it one hundred times today just wasn’t enough.) It also ended a three-game scoring streak for the recently-returned Jordan Staal.
The Penguins seemed to come alive as the game wound down, outshooting the Devils 10 to 3 in the third period and overall 23 to 20, but the last minute push just wasn’t enough.
Perhaps one of the biggest stars of the game (all personal biases aside of course) came in the form of fan favourite Maxime Talbot. Talbot, who played with his hockey-heart on his jersey sleeve (excuse the bad pun) won 90% of his face-offs and led the team in penalty minutes on some questionable goalie-interference calls and one fighting major. (Someone once told me officiating was all about perspective but sometimes you really do have to wonder exactly where that perspective is coming from.) Interestingly enough, Matt Cooke was given a free pass after engaging in a shoving match with Brodeur late in the second period. I’m sure I wasn’t the only fan in PensNation who found this slightly amusing. Face it – in any other game he’d have been called simply for being Matt Cooke.
The Penguins penalty kill still remains ranked as one of the highest in the league with the team having successfully killed off 21 straight road-game penalties including the four faced tonight.
You can bet the boys will be looking to rebound on Saturday when they meet the Hurricanes on home ice at the Consol Energy Center. This game will mark the first time this season that brothers Eric Staal and Jordan Staal meet on the ice. *Cue Staals are Brothers!*
Three Stars of the Game:
- Martin Brodeur
- Brian Rolston
- Nick Palmieri