- Pascal Dupuis got the final touch as he and Chris Kunitz rushed Corey Schneider who thought he had the puck covered. A mental lapse from the goaltender and the defense that should have been back supporting him put the Devils on the wrong-end of their earliest deficit on the season.
- Chris Conner scored off of a pretty pass from Brandon Sutter and a pretty awful defensive breakdown by both Eric Gelinas and Jon Merrill.
- Jason Megna put the exclamation point on an awful period from the Devils with a wrist shot goal at 14:40 to put the Pens up 3-0 going into the first intermission.
- Patrik Elias brought the New Jersey back to life with a beautiful redirection of an Anton Volchenkov pass from the side boards to give the Devils their first goal at 3:24 into the second.
- Dainius Zubrus poked in goal number 2, less than a minute after the first, pushing a Jaromir Jagr shot across the line.
With the loss to Columbus still fresh in their minds, fans of the New Jersey Devils were hoping for the team to come out angry and looking to make up for lost points. What they got, however, was a mistake-ladened team that got overwhelmed all-too quickly, and almost let the game slip away without a fight.
The first period was one of the worst in recent memory. It only took 41 seconds to get this game going in the wrong direction for the Devils as Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz came barreling down on a loose puck that Corey Schneider thought he had covered up. A big mental mistake by Schneider, but even more so from the defense that let two Penguins come in unimpeded to take their shots at the Jersey goaltender.
Things would only get worse for the Jersey defense in the first, in particular their rookie defensemen, Jon Merrill and Eric Gelinas. After Merrill mishandled an easy pass from Gelinas, turning it over to the Penguins, Eric Gelinas made a rookie mistake and left his post to cover for Merrill along the boards, leaving Conner open to score his second goal of the season, one-on-one over Schneider. Shortly after this, the Gelinas - Merrill pairing was separated. Jason Megna's somewhat controversial goal towards the end of the third, his fourth of the season, the Devils headed down the tunnel for the first intermission with their heads hanging.
In the second period, however, things got turned upside-down. The Devils didn't just play better, they thoroughly dominated the class of the Metro division, outshooting the Penguins 32-11, and outscoring them 2-0. All of the momentum was on the side of the Red and Black for the final 40 of the game, and had it not been for a few posts in their way, we could be talking about a different outcome here. But in the end, unfortunately for the Devils' Army, New Jersey couldn't find any more than those two quick second period goals, and dropped their second straight game.
In a rare turn, especially considering that we're talking about a losing effort, the bright spots for the Devils came from the offense tonight. Jaromir Jagr, Patrik Elias, and Travis Zajac played superb games for the Devils at both ends of the ice, as did tonight's fourth line of Jacob Josefson, Tim Sestito, and Cam Janssen. Three players in particular who had great games out there for New Jersey, but were left with nothing to show for it, were Adam Henrique, Steve Bernier and Damien Brunner. Brunner continued trending upward while playing alongside Elias, and was robbed of his third goal in his last two games by a fantastic save from Marc-Andre Fleury, a feeling that Steve Bernier can relate to tonight.
Henrique, on the other hand, beat Pittsbrugh's goaltender to the glove side with a chance to tie the game, but couldn't best the post. A similar situation occurred in the closing seconds of the game, but that time Henrique's backhander sailed wide. It's unfortunate that all that Adam Henrique can take away from this game are a couple of missed opportunities and a costly penalty for playing with a broken stick, because he had a good game tonight.
The defense didn't have their best game tonight, although they weren't terrible. In a game where defensive mistakes cost New Jersey at least 2, and maybe all three, goals, they were scored by Dupuis, Conner, and Megna. Pittsburgh's high-scoring superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were shut down by the Devils' D. Between them, the league's top scorers managed just 2 shots and a lone secondary assist, which Crosby collected on Pittsburgh's first, fluky goal.
In the crease, another good night by Schneider will be marred by the first goal. After all, defense or no, if he just drops his pad down on the ice, the whole thing never happens. After that he played about as well as any goalie could under the circumstances only surrendering the other goals on a bad breakaway and after some contact in the crease from Megna lead to a bad rebound and a goal. But tonight, regardless of how well Corey played, Marc-Andre Fleury was the star between the pipes.
Fleury has had a bad reputation in the years since the Penguins' cup victory, and even briefly lost his job to veteran Tomáš Vokoun. But, he has responded with a grit that many didn't know he had, and he showed that tonight. His 37 saves on the Devils 39 shots, especially those against Brunner and Bernier, were what kept Pittsburgh from giving this game away.