by Tony on 12/22/09 at 01:50 AM ET
Nothing to do but tap your stick to Marty.
Martin Brodeur posted his 104th career shutout in tonight’s 4-0 blanking of the Penguins at the Igloo, breaking the previous NHL record of 103 by Terry Sawchuk. Ironically, Sawchuk got his 103rd and final shutout against the Penguins as well, in 1970.
Brodeur stopped all 35 Penguins shots and frankly wasn’t threatened much at all. The only close calls for Brodeur tonight came in the final two minutes of the game, once on a wrister by Sidney Crosby that rang off the post, and a point-blank save on Evgeni Malkin in the final seconds.
It was a dominating performance by the Devils as a whole, not just Brodeur. The Devils were skating circles around the flat-footed Penguins, grabbing loose pucks and at times employing a relentless forecheck. Combine that with an off night from Marc-Andre Fleury, and that quickly spelled bad news for the Penguins.
Things didn’t start well for the Pens, as the Devils got the important first goal about four minutes into the game. Bryce Salvador fired a seemingly harmless slapper from the left boards, but the problem was that Sergei Gonchar unintentionally provided a great screen for Salvador. Fleury didn’t see the puck until it was too late, and the Devils took a 1-0 lead.
As the second period started, with Alex Goligoski in the box for a late 1st period tripping call, the Devils quickly doubled their lead, as Niclas Bergfors fired a slapper from the right boards that Brooks Orpik might have screened Fleury from, beating him blocker side for a 2-0 Devils lead. I also felt that Fleury may have been off position to the short side by a little bit as well.
Things continued to go downhill for the Penguins after that, as the Devils pummeled Fleury with a flurry (get it?) of three or four shots before Patrik Elias was able to fire a wrister to the top shelf into the net to widen the Devils lead to 3-0 at 8:27.
They made their lead 4-0 on a Mark Fraser wrister past Fleury. HCDB pulled Fleury at that time, replacing him with Brent Johnson. Johnson stopped all 14 shots he faced for the remainder of the game.
- Evgeni Malkin stayed consistent with a hooking penalty in the third period. Malkin has now received a penalty in eight consecutive games.
- Speaking of Malkin, the more I watch the new but not improved Penguins’ powerplay, the more I do NOT like him at the left point. Basically, before it was a 3-man powerplay between Crosby, Gonchar and Malkin. Now it’s down to Gonchar and Crosby. Malkin is basically as effective as Ryan Whitney was there.
- Oh, by the way, powerplay went 0-for-5.
- Jordan Staal appeared to suffer a broken nose after the puck accidently struck him. He returned after some stitches and a full face mask.
- Mark Eaton missed the game after appearing to injure his knee defending the Sabres Mike Grier. Replacing him was Martin Skoula.
- Didn’t help him tonight, but Fleury was awarded the NHL’s 2nd star of the week today.
- Max Talbot got a 10 minute misconduct, along with the Devils’ Dean McAmmond on a scrum late in the second period.
- Both Crosby and Malkin awarded three giveaways each, probably could have been given one or two more each.
- Positive stat of the night: Both Crosby and Staal won 73% of faceoffs, Crosby going 19-for-26, Staal 8-for-11.
- Three blocked shots for Goligoski led the Pens.
- Not surprisingly, former Devil Mike Rupp led the Pens with six hits.
- Malkin led the Pens with six shots.
The Ottawa Senators are next up for the Penguins on Wednesday night at the Igloo.
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Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.
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