Game 12 Recap – Deja-Moose; Devils Sweep the Weekend, Beat Penguins 3-1
Roughly 30 hours after the Devils beat the Penguins 3-1 in Newark, history repeated itself. Sure, the arena was different…and the goal-scorers were different…heck, even the goalies were different. But the New Jersey Devils (8-1-3) pulled off another 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins (8-5-0) to win their fifth straight and increase their lead on the Atlantic Division, and the Eastern Conference.
Sunday’s game got off to a much different start than Saturday afternoon, with Ryan Carter and Robert Bortuzzo dropping the gloves just 4 seconds into the opening frame. Can’t really blame the guys for an early fight, this is the third time the teams faced each other within 9 days and tensions were bound to be high, with first place in the Atlantic Division on the line. After the fight, the Penguins quickly got to work trying to break through the Devils defense and Johan Hedberg. Moose was having none of it, though, stopping all 10 shots that came his way during the first period. Tomas Vokoun, however, was not so lucky. At 13:06 of the first period, David Clarkson and Patrik Elias broke into the Penguins zone on a 2-on-1 with Engelland trailing back for the Penguins. Clarkson carried the puck in, and cut across the middle to seal off Engelland and fire a wrist shot over Vokoun’s shoulder to give the Devils a 1-0 lead. Despite being outshot 10-4 in the first, the Devils were looking good and were hoping to repeat Saturday’s success.
The second period started with the Penguins finishing off a power-play opportunity, the majority of which had run off at the end of the first period. The Penguins were unable to capitalized and for the next 10 minutes, both teams traded scoring chances, including a beautiful effort by Bernier on Vokoun’s doorstep with his shot trickling just wide of net after getting through the Penguins goalie. At 11:27 of the second, Kovalchuk would extend the Devils lead to 2, as he and Henrique rushed the Penguins zone on a 2-on-1 and Kovalchuk fired a snap shot that found it’s way through Vokoun. At this point, the frustration in the Penguins was showing, and they started making some mistakes. The biggest of which came from James Neal, who was called for Cross-Checking Steve Bernier. This would be the only penalty called against the Penguins during the game, but the Devils would take full advantage of it. Standing in front of the net, Clarkson was able to hammer home a rebound from Patrik Elias’ point shot to give the Devils a 3-0 lead at the 13:20 mark of the second period.
Stephen Gionta would be called for slashing to end the second period, and the power-play would carry over into the final frame of the game. James Neal would make up for his earlier penalty by scoring a power-play goal just 15 seconds into the 3rd. It started to look like it would be bad news for the Devils; The fans were back into the game, the Penguins had new life, and they had finally found a way to break through Moose. But once again, Moose was having none of it. Multiple times in the third period, he stood on his head to stop the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and James Neal to keep the score 3-1 in favor of the Devils. As was the case on Saturday, this would be the final score, and the Devils would leave Pittsburgh with yet another 2 points.
The win gave the Devils 19 points on the season (out of a possible 24) and their fifth win in a row. David Clarkson also tallied goals number 8 and 9 during the game, tying him for second in the league, tailing only Thomas Vanek of the Bruins with 11. Ilya Kovalchuk seems to be making his way out of his scoring slump as he tallied another goal, and Johan Hedberg (2-0-1, 0.65 GAA, 0.973 Sv%) put on yet another stellar performance between the pipes. Despite giving up another goal while short-handed, something the Devils have prided themselves on not allowing, it was the only goal the Devils allowed so I’m sure they’re not too upset about it. All-in-all, the Devils are playing some of the best hockey they have in a long time, reminiscent of their play during the 2012 Playoffs. It’s exciting hockey to watch, and more importantly, it’s working for them. The Devils will look to extend their winning streak to six when the Carolina Hurricanes visit Tuesday evening.
Three Stars of the Game:
3 – James Neal (1 G) - The lone goal-scorer for the Penguins.
2 – David Clarkson (2 G, 1 PPG) – What can I say that hasn’t already been said about Clarkson? He’s scored 9 goals in 12 games…ridiculous.
1 – Johan Hedberg (1 GA, 23 Saves, 0.958 Sv%) – MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSE
Posted on February 12, 2013, in Devils Army, Devils Army Generals, Game Recap, New Jersey Devils, NHL and tagged David Clarkson, Ilya Kovalchuk, Johan Hedberg, New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.