They didn’t score early, they didn’t score first and they didn’t score on the power play.
Penguins 1 – Devils 4
The combination led to a 4-1 loss at the New Jersey Devils Wednesday night.
In any game against the Devils it is understood that you must jump out with the first goal. Pittsburgh was unable to do this and suffered from bad bounces and bad luck.
That bad bounce came to the stick of Travis Zajac with 2:21 left in the second period. The puck was thrown to the back boards just to the left of the Penguins’ net. A funny bounce allowed the puck to careen behind Dany Sabourin and right out to the front of the cage where Zajac fired it in to an empty net.
You never want to allow opponents to score in the last five minutes of a period because it gives them tons of momentum heading in to the period break. New Jersey did just that and was able to score a goal at another timely point in the game: the first five minutes of the third period.
Zach Parise earned a deflection goal just 2:18 in to the final period and made it all but hopeless for the Pens to come back and force overtime.
The Penguins didn’t, however, play too bad of a game. They just blew opportunities, a trend as of late.
Pittsburgh had three power play chances and capitalized on none of them. Goals with the man-advantage where a huge topic of concern coming in to the game considering a 1-for-8 showing on Monday against Buffalo and the fact that the Pens were facing the third worst penalty kill in the Eastern Conference (77.6%).
Maybe the most crushing blow of the game was what led to New Jersey’s first goal. Pittsburgh was heading in to a power play opportunity when Devils’ goaltender Scott Clemmensen was called for delay of game for freezing the puck in the trapezoid.
Just 23 seconds later Ruslan Fedotenko crashed the corner boards for the puck and got a high stick up in the face of the New Jersey defender, eliminating the man-advantage.
The Devils capitalized on the luck and scored to make the score 1-0.
Luck was also a factor in the game as the boys in black and white stripes didn’t make it very easy on the Pens. There were several missed calls during the game, one of which on that opening goal.
The two Devils entering the zone appeared to be offside and video confirmed that was the case. However, the officials missed the call on the fly and there was nothing to be done.
Several penalties went either un-called or we suspect, including the delay of game on Clemmensen.
You can’t blam the refs, though, because that’s just making excuses. The Pens have another game coming Thursday night against the Islanders at Mellon Arena. Playing another struggling team might be just what this team needs for a jump start — Pittsburgh is currently on a three-game losing streak and is 4-5-2 in its last 11 games.
Chris | PPT