Published on February 2nd, 2013 | by James Conley0
Penguins Precap 8 – New Jersey Devils
The Penguins return home Saturday to try for their first win in three home games this season. They’ll take on the New Jersey Devils for the first time this year.
Saturday marks the first of a three-games-in-nine-days set between the division rivals. The Penguins are 4-3-0 and third in the Atlantic Division. New Jersey holds first place in the Atlantic with a 3-0-3 record. Though their nine points are tied with the Islanders, New Jersey is the only team in the East which has yet to drop a game in regulation.
Pittsburgh can move ahead of the Devils with a regulation win.
Evan Mulgrave is an occasional Slew Footers contributor and walking David Puddy avatar. Here’s his prediction for today’s Penguins-Devils match.
“The Penguins have yet to win at home, a streak that will continue with a loss to the Devils today. I think it will be a close game that’s decided in a shootout. Look for me to throw a hot dog on the ice to stifle a Crosby breakaway, and look for Kovalchuk to blow Fleury’s arm off with a slap shot to win the shootout, like Bruce Willis did to Jack Black in the Jackal. Go Devils.”
Zach Boychuk will be making his first appearance as a Penguin Saturday after being claimed off waivers Thursday. Boychuk was a former first-round selection of the Carolina Hurricanes but couldn’t find a home on Carolina’s solid LW depth chart. He’s slated to get his first Penguins start alongside Evgeni Malkin and James Neal.
The Pens ought to be excited to see what Boychuk can bring, given his speed and productivity at the AHL level. However, is there no circumstance that won’t keep Dustin Jeffrey out of a top-six role? Jeffrey was good in two games on Malkin’s wing but will likely be bumped to fourth-line duties or the press box, unless Chris Kunitz (ill, game-time decision) can’t go.
For the Devils, they’ll look to continue Pittsburgh’s home woes. New Jersey shut out the Flyers 3-0 earlier this season, but each of their other five contests were decided by a single goal. Pittsburgh has been outscored 9-3 at home this season.
The teams split their season series a year ago, with the Pens taking two of the last three by a combined score of 12-9
Marc-Andre Fleury will start against the Devils. Fleury is 2-2 on the season (2.94 / .890). His save percentage is down, but perhaps unfairly so. Fleury got the start in the games against Toronto and the Islanders, maybe the worst team performances of the season.
Tomas Vokoun will start Sunday against the Capitals.
Kunitz – Crosby – Dupuis
Boychuk – Malkin – Neal
Cooke – Sutter – Kennedy
Glass – Vitale – Adams
Orpik – Martin
Despres – Letang
Engelland – Bortuzzo
Time to shake the dust off the CONSOL mausoleum.