The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (25-8-1) at the Pittsburgh Penguins (25-10-1). This is the third meeting of the season, the third time in Pittsburgh this season and the Devils have won the first two games 4-1 each time.
The Last Devils Game: It started badly as the Thrashers got up 3-1 in the first. Marty was told to have a seat and Denis took over and the Devils hade a 4-3 lead after two and eventually hung on to win 5-4.
The Last Penguins Game: The Penguins continued their winning streak and took care of the Sabres in a shootout 2-1. It was the Pens 5th in a row.
The Last Penguins / Devils Game: The Penguins struck first and the Devils looked pretty terrible the first half of the game. Bergfors would put the equalizer in and the Devils wouldn’t look back after that as they completely picked apart the Penguins team in the second half of the game.
Tonight’s Matchup: It’s sort of a Battle Royal really. In the last 10 games, New Jersey is 8-2-0 and Pittsburgh is 8-1-1. The Penguins and the Devils are tied for the League lead in points (51) and wins (25) but the difference in my eyes is that everyone expected this from Pittsburgh this season.
Usually I am complaining that the Devils showed up in the first period and then the effort slowly got less and less during the second and third but Saturdays game was the opposite. NJ looked flat in the first and then got it going in the second and third.
I’m sure Pittsburgh is focused on the fact that NJ has come into their building twice this year and had their way with them. Pittsburgh seems like a much healthier team this time around so look for them to be out to make a statement tonight.
I thought Brodeur needed a rest going into the weekend and he got a little bit of that on Saturday night as he took a seat after the first period, I just hope it was enough. The Devils Defense has to be better than it was on Saturday night because that first period was about as bad as it gets. A few line shuffles and they settled down a bit but I thought they could do better. The have to know the Pens offense struggled in the last game and will be looking to have a solid game tonight.
These are the games we love, the important (yes, even in December) games where the Division is on the line.