The Metropolitan Division: Part IV – The Pittsburgh Penguins
With the 2013-14 season looming closer, we’ll be taking a look at the new and old Division match-ups in the new formed Metropolitan Division in this weekly blog. This week we take a look at a team that has had continued success over the years, much like the Devils, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
- New Jersey at Pittsburgh: Thursday, October 3, 7:00 PM
- Pittsburgh at New Jersey: Saturday, November 16, 7:00 PM
- New Jersey at Pittsburgh: Friday, December 13, 7:00 PM
- Pittsburgh at New Jersey: Tuesday, December 31, 7:00 PM
The Devils and Penguins will open the 2013-14 season against each other on October 3rd and will play all 4 of their games in the first 3 months of the season. The teams will have very little time to get acclimated with each other and will have to work quickly to make any adjustments.
The Penguins lost two of their players to free agency this off-season, with Jarome Iginla signing with the Boston Bruins, and Matt Cooke joining the Minnesota Wild. Obviously the Penguins still have the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and James Neal, but will be missing a key points-scorer in Iginla. in 13 regular season games with the Penguins, Iginla tallied 11 (5G, 6A) points. Matt Cooke, while controversial in his style of play, will certainly be missed by Pittsburgh as the team’s enforcer.
Devils RW Matt D’Agostini signed with the Penguins during the off-season as a free agent. D’Agostini played 13 games in the 2012-13 season with the Devils and registered 2 goals and 2 assists after being picked up from the St. Louis Blues. D’Agostini will be looking for a new home in Pittsburgh.
Despite Crosby missing 12 of the 48 regular season games, he still led the team with 56 points (15G, 41A) with Chris Kunitz tallying the most goals (22) for the team. The Penguins finished 1st in both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference last year and faced the 8th seed New York Islanders and 7th seed Ottawa Senators in the first two rounds of the playoffs. In the Eastern Conference Finals, however, the Penguins were swept by the 4th seed Boston Bruins. In the four games against Boston, Pittsburgh only managed 3 goals and gave up 11. The last two games of the series were closer, finishing Game 3 2-1 in 2OT and Game 4 by a score of 1-0.
Despite the Penguins taking the first meeting by a final of 5-1, the Devils held the upper hand for the remainder of the season, winning the last 3 games of the season by a total score of 9-4. Martin Brodeur went 1-1-0 against the Penguins, with Johan Hedberg finishing 2-0-0 against Pittsburgh. The Devils will have to look for some offensive production elsewhere, however, as David Clarkson and Ilya Kovalchuk led the team in scoring against their Atlantic Division rivals.
While the Devils will be without Clarkson or Kovalchuk this season, that doesn’t mean that their offense is incapable of producing effective numbers. Adam Henrque, Patrik Elias, Michael Ryder, and Jaromir Jagr will be tasked with filling that void. While Marc-Andre Fleury was the starter for the majority of Pittsburgh’s season (31 of 48), Tomas Vokoun got the nod during the playoffs, starting 11 of the team’s 15 games after some questionable goaltending by Fleury. The Devils will look to exploit this goaltending scenario and shoot as often as possible. And with Pittsburgh having so many offensive weapons, it’ll be imperative to put as much pressure on their goalie as possible. If the Devils can contain the Penguins like they did last season, they should be in good shape. Look for the Devils to up their offensive game against the Penguins, attempting to stifle their offense and keep the focus on the man wearing black and gold between the pipes.
Posted on September 13, 2013, in Devils Army, Devils Army Generals, Game Preview, New Jersey Devils, New Jersey Devils Fans, NHL and tagged Devils, Evgeni Malkin, Marc-Andre Fleury, Martin Brodeur, Metropolitan Division, New Jersey Devils, NHL, Pittsburgh Penguins, sidney crosby. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.