Published on February 12th, 2013 | by James Conley0
Devils Skate Away with Pair of 3-1 Wins Over Penguins
The Penguins lost the weekend series with the Devils with a pair of 3-1 defeats, falling to second in the division and fourth in the Conference as New Jersey extended its winning streak to five games.
The losses concluded a stretch of six games in nine days for the Penguins, a marathon in which fatigue and injury clearly began to pile up by the weekend.
“It’s always tough against them,” goaltender Tomas Vokoun said following the loss. “They play a tight system. It’s really not a game that’s fun for you. But still, we had our chances. We just didn’t capitalize and they did on theirs.”
At 8-5-0, Pittsburgh will play nine of their next 10 contests outside of the Atlantic after facing division rivals in six of their last eight.
For the second consecutive game, the Penguins were limited to one goal. And, for the second consecutive game, their lone goal came on the power play. Pittsburgh hasn’t scored at even strength since a 5-2 win over the Capitals last Thursday, when three of their five goals in the contest were still scored on the man-advantage.
The Devils were able to hold Sidney Crosby’s line in check, while Evgeni Malkin and James Neal have been held in check by the Penguins’ season-long game of musical linemates. Tyler Kennedy, Eric Tangradi, Zach Boychuk and Dustin Jeffrey have taken turns playing with the line, but none have helped the unit find the production it had a year ago with Chris Kunitz.
Malkin and Neal have produced four ES goals this season. More than half of Malkin’s 16 points have come on the man-advantage, and 70 percent of Neal’s production has come on the power play.
In 2012, less than 40 percent of each player’s output was made on the power play. Without Kunitz, the power play has become their only offensive threat.
Pittsburgh gets a few days off before facing the Senators at home Wednesday.
Quotes courtesy Jason Seidling & Pittsburgh Penguins
Featured Image Dinur @ flickr