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Penguins squander 3rd period lead, lose to Devils in OT, 4-3

One might say that the Penguins really didn’t deserve two points if they ended up winning tonight’s game vs. the Devils.  After all, the Devils controlled the vast majority of the game, combined with the fact that the Penguins only got 16 shots on goal.

But that said, the Penguins still found themselves with a two-goal lead with only a little more than eight minutes to go in the ballgame.

Until Petr Sykora took a hooking penalty at the 11:55 mark, with an extra two minutes for mouthing off for good measure.  That’s when it all when downhill for the Pens.

The Devils scored twice in that last 8:05, including a lucky bounce of the puck off the skate of Ryan Whitney from Jamie Langenbrunner and into the net with only 31 seconds left, then got an overtime goal by Langenbrunner with one minute left in OT to propel them to a 4-3 comeback win over the Penguins.

The Devils peppered Marc-Andre Fleury from all angles with 43 shots on goal, including 19 in the first period.  Fleury certainly weathered the storm with some key saves.

But it was the Penguins who jumped on the scoreboard first roughly midway through the first period.  Ryan Whitney’s slapper from the left point was deflected by Max Talbot and past Devils’ goalie Scott Clemmensen to give the Pens a 1-0 lead.

That lead was doubled only 20 seconds later when Sidney Crosby took a pass from Evgeni Malkin in the Devils’ zone and lofted a backhander to the top shelf past Clemmensen to make it 2-0 Pens.

The only blemish for Fleury in the first came on a play behind the Pens’ net when new Devil Brendan Shanahan left the puck for Bobby Holik and happened to high-stick Ryan Whitney but didn’t get whistled for it.  As Whitney grabbed his mouth, Holik took the puck and backhanded a shot that went through Fleury’s five hole to cut the Pens’ lead to 2-1.

After no scoring in the second period, Crosby and Malkin teamed up again in the third.  Crosby stole the puck in the neutral zone, calmly went around the Devils’ D-man and fed the puck to Malkin, who came in the Devils’ zone on a 2-on-1 break.  Malkin fired a wrister that squirted past Clemmensen and into the net at the 8:35 mark to give the Penguins a seemingly comfortable 3-1 lead.

Sykora’s penalty at 11:55, which of course ended up being a 4 minute penalty, started terribly for the Pens.  Directly off the faceoff, Shanahan fired a slapper from the left point that appeared to deflect off Talbot (again) and past Fleury to quickly make it 3-2.  However, the Penguins killed the other two minutes of the penalty.

As the game clock wound down, it appeared the Pens would eek it out.  However, with Clemmensen pulled from the net and with a faceoff in the Pens zone, the Devils got possession of the puck and got the puck to Langenbrunner behind the net, who simply backhanded it to the goal.  The puck squirted through Fleury and bounced down to the skate of Whitney and into the net to tie the game with 31 seconds left.

The Devils controlled the overtime as well, the Pens looked horrible.  With one minute left, Travis Zajac made a nice feed to Langenbrunner, who one-timed a shot past Fleury to give the Devils the win.

Other notes;
- Mark Eaton played a great defensive game, including four blocked shots.
- Crosby was basically out of service during the overtime with a skate issue.
- Malkin was briefly injured when it appeared that he accidently poked himself with his own stick on a play along the boards.
- Bill Thomas was 8 for 12 on faceoffs, including winning the faceoff in the Devils zone in the final minute.

The Penguins now head to Toronto for the second of their back-to-back games.  New Penguin Matthew Garon is expected to make his Penguin debut.

Filed in: , | The Confluence | Permalink
  Tags: new+jersey+devils, nhl-hockey, pittsburgh+penguins

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About The Confluence

Welcome to The Confluence, a Pittsburgh Penguins blog since 2006.

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.

I am blogger- credentialed with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  My posts are regularly linked by hockey websites such as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Yahoo!‘s Puck Daddy, and I’ve done numerous guest blogger spots on such websites asthe New YorkTimes.  I am a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer.

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