Bad gains

Feb. 5, 2008

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The Penguins claim a share of first place in the Atlantic Division but do it with a disappointing 4-3 overtime loss at New Jersey.

-Keith Jones campaigns for the Penguins to keep Jordan Staal instead of dealing him at the trade deadline. We can't argue with that.

-Kris Beech is the Penguins' only scratch.

-The Devils scratched Arron Asham, Sheldon Brookbank and Andy Greene.

FIRST PERIOD

19:15: Ed Olczyk accuses the Penguins of spreading rashes.

16:54: On a delayed penalty, Sergei Gonchar slides a pass along the point to Evgeni Malkin. Malkin bombs a one-timer that Martin Brodeur is able to knock away.

16:44: Mike Mottau is whistled for high-sticking Georges Laraque.

14:56: Kris Letang lobs a wrister through traffic. The puck "clacks" off Brodeur's mask and away from the crease.

14:03: Malkin enters the offensive zone and puts a little stop-and-go move on Johnny Oduya. Nothing really results out of the play, but its worth noting Malkin's maybe one of 15 players in the NHL who could've made that move.

11:33: As the Penguins go on a power play, the official handling the faceoff in the offensive zone nearly trips over Jordan Staal's skate.

10:44: Staal gets run over by Colin White.

10:43: Christensen snaps a shot from the left faceoff circle that rings off the post.

4:54: David Clarkson picks up a loose puck in the offensive zone and whips a wrister on net. Ty Conklin eats it up. As we come back from commercial, Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing In The Dark" is being played. We've only been in the Garden State for a grand total of 18 hours in our life, but somehow, we're willing to bet you can go anywhere in New Jersey and find that song playing somewhere.

Either that or Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive."

4:19: Ryan Malone and Clarkson decide to dance. At one point, they appear to blast each other in the face simultaneously. After that, they pretty much just wrestle each other out of their gear. These two aren't fond of each other. They fought back on Nov. 21.

2:36: Travis Zajac wrestles the puck off Erik Christensen and works it out of the Devils' zone. Christensen pursues him and is called for hooking.

2:14: Mike Emrick says the Devils aren't usually one of the league's strongest teams on the power play. In other news, Bobby Brown isn't exactly known as being a good citizen.

1:35: Gionta works the puck out of the corner and into the crease. He tries to bang it in, but Conklin holds tough and denies him.

0:00: End of period. Devils 0, Penguins 0.

FIRST INTERMISSION

-That period had a pretty good flow, but not a lot of offensive chances.

-The Penguins owned a 10-6 advantage in shots that period.

-During the intermission, Brian Englbom and Keith Jones debate whether or not Conklin should remain the starter when Marc-Andre Fleury returns. Enblom says it's Conlkin's job to lose while Jones feels Fleury should be the starter. We say platoon the two and let Fleury get back into game shape. That way you can figure out who's your man come playoff time.

SECOND PERIOD

18:53: Patrik Elias gets nabbed for interference.

18:23: Gonchar blasts a one-timer from the point and Brodeur just gets a piece of it with his glove.

17:49: Malkin slides a pass from the near boards to Gonchar. Gonchar throws a low wrister on net that Brodeur traps between his legs.

17:34: Malkin circles near the boards with the puck and throws a wrister on net. Brodeur makes the save but can't control the rebound. Malone's in the crease, and jabs at the rebound. The puck sneaks under Brodeur for a goal. Penguins 1-0.

16:33: Johnny Oduya gets called for tripping Malkin.

15:59: The Penguins work the puck from the corner towards the Devils net. Christensen fires a high, hard wrister on Brodeur. The rebound drops to the ice and Jeff Taffe Dean Biasucci's it into the net. The officials immediately wave it off as no goal.

14:19: The Devils work the puck behind the Penguins net. John Madden sends a pass into the slot where Jamie Langenbrunner has a prime opportunity. Conklin drops to his side and stones the Devils captain.

12:48: Coming back from commercial, we get see that the Devils acknowledge the Kansas City Scouts and the Colorado Rockies, their previous incarnations, in the concourse of the Prudential Center. That's a quality move on their end if you ask us. The Carolina Hurricanes would have you believe that franchise never existed until they touched down on Tobacco Road and that the Hartford Whalers didn't exist for almost 25 years.

10:48: Staal works the puck towards the net. White simply dives and takes him out legs first. No call.

9:05: Brooks Orpik gets dumped into the boards by Rod Pelley with a nice check.

8:10: Malkin works the puck into slot and leaves a drop pass for Petr Sykora. Sykora, grabs it, works through traffic and fires a shot on net. It deflects slightly off Vitaly Vishnevski's knee, surprises Brodeur and beats him for a goal. It is the 600th point of Sykora's career. Penguins 2-0.

7:32: Talbot and Staal generate a two-on-one. Talbot gets the puck to Staal who hesitates and then fires a shot just wide of the net.

7:18: Coming back from commercial, Malone congratulates Sykora for reaching the milestone while being interviewed by Christine Simpson. We bet Malone has Sykora in his fantasy league.

5:40: Jarkko Ruutu tries to get David Clarkson to do something stupid. Clarkson doesn't bite.

5:28: As the Devils generate a two-on-one, Laraque hits Clarkson along the boards. Clarkson decides to Rulon Gardner Laraque.

3:13: Versus busts out a video of Malkin's goal against New Jersey last season:

2:23: The Devils nearly score on a nifty give-and-go play. Langenbrunner sends a pass to Zach Parise who then sends it to Elias. Elias tries to shoot low, but Conklin is in position for a fine save. Christensen gets his second hooking call of the game during the play.

0:41: Parise grabs the puck behind the net and spins towards the crease. He loses control of the puck but Langenbrunner is able to hammer it home from in close. Penguins 2-1.

0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Devils 1.

SECOND INTERMISSION

-The Penguins were lucky to escape that period only giving up one goal. The Devils had a lot of momentum going for them after scoring that first goal.

-The Penguins outshot the Devils, 14-8 that period.

-While being interviewed by Christine Simpson about his 600th point, Sykora has this weird "Pepe Le Pu" look directed at her.

-Sykora openly mocks Mario Lemieux for making a turnover that led to Sykora's first career point. Jay Caufield will beat Sykora up for that we think.

THIRD PERIOD

19:30: Malone gets called for hooking.

19:02: Former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin fires a slap shot from the point. Conklin blindly puts his hands up and knocks it away.

17:51: Karel Rachunek blasts a slapper from the point. Conklin is able to locate it and knock it away.

17:12: Clarkson is called for tripping.

15:59: Ryan Whitney slides a pass to the side of the net. Malkin touch-passes it across the crease to Sykora. Sykora has Brodeur lying on the ice, but can't quite lift it over Brodeur who makes a marvelous save.

15:30: Letang controls the puck in the right faceoff circle. He slides a pass into the corner to Maxime Talbot. Talbot then sends a pass across the crease to Staal who fires a shot low that beats Brodeur. Penguins 3-1.

11:14: Oduya sneaks in near the net and fires a rising wrister. Conklin is able to fight off a screen and glove it.

10:38: Michel Therrien calls a time out to get his team a rest and to organize a Wii Bowling tournament back at the team's hotel.

10:23: Elias winds his way from the near boards into the crease and kinds of throws it towards the net. The puck hops up and deflects off Letang's leg and into the net. Penguins 3-2.

9:18: Olczyk busts out his seemingly obligatory, "I used to coach the Penguins" comment.

8:39: Oduya jumps in from the point and fires a slapper. Conklin makes the save, but Clarkson is right on his door step to punch the rebound in. Devils 3, Penguins 3.

8:24: Coming back from commercial, Christine Simpson tells us about the recent marriage of Kevin Weekes, the Devils back up goaltender. Hopefully he doesn't take any marriage advice from the Devils starting goaltender.

8:05: Armstrong jabs Vishnevski in the midsection. Vishnevski socks Armstrong in the face with a punch Tim Sylvia would be proud of. Somehow both players get penalties.

3:26: Ruutu runs over Zajac in the neutral zone. Zajac responds by putting a Boston Crab on Ruutu.

1:20: Vishnevski fires a one-timer from the point. Conklin locates it through a screen set by Dainius Zubrus and make a big save.

0:00: End of period. Devils 3, Penguins 3.

OVERTIME

4:24: Elias throws the puck from the point towards the net. Parise deflects it past Conklin and gives the Devils a win. End of game. Devils 4, Penguins 3.

Game.

POSTGAME

-True the Penguins gained a point on the road against a tough opponent, but you really have to look at this game as a disappointment. They had a two goal lead with roughly 10 minutes left and pretty much collapsed. If winning the Atlantic Division is truly an attainable goal, this was a game they had to put away.

-During the second intermission, Devils coach Brent Sutter chewed his players out to the point that they were almost late for the third period.

-Rightly or wrongly, Michel Therrien totally threw Ryan Whitney under the bus by saying, "A guy like Ryan Whitney is going to have to be more aggressive around the net. He's not aggressive at all. It cost [us] the game."

-Ouch.

-Devils forward Jay Pandolfo didn't play the final 15:30 of regulation.

-Even through they're tied with the Flyers and Devils points-wise, the Penguins are technically in third place when it comes down to tie-breakers. The Flyers have fewer games played and the Devils have more wins.

-Standings.

-The Penguins out-shot the Devils, 34-25.

-The Devils dominated faceoffs, 39-23.

-The crowd was announced as a dismal 13,012 last night. The Prudential Center holds 17,625.

-It's hard to give Conklin any grief over this loss. His defense didn't give him a lot of help.

-Dave Molinari's recap.

-Game Summary.

-Event Summary.

-Highlights:

EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS

-Ryan Whitney also had a rough night Sunday.

-The Penguins and Robert Morris are trying to bring the Frozen Four to Pittsburgh in 2013.

-The Penguins have a lot of centers.

-If you want to view the episode of The Tonight Show where Jay Leno makes fun of the Penguins A&L Motors commercial, you can view it here. Click on the Feb. 1 episode and go to the 8:00 mark.

-Former Penguins forward Luc Robitaille will serve as an assistant general manager for Team Canada in the IIHF World Championships this spring. Former Red Wings star Steve Yzerman will serve as the team's general manager.

-Evgeni Malkin cares not for Ryan Malone's face time:

(Kudos to EN Reader Autumn Dubbs for the find.)

EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS

Atlantic Division

-Islanders forward Mike Sillinger will miss three weeks due to a hip injury. In his place, the Islanders recalled forwards Kip Brennan, Frans Nielsen and Jeff Tambellini from Bridgeport of the AHL.

Northeast Division

-Former Penguins center Dominic Moore is living the dream in Toronto.

-Sabres forward Maxim Afinogenov is still dealing with a groin injury.

Southeast Division

-Panthers forward Radek Dvorak will miss four-to-six weeks due to a broken hand.

-Thrashers forward Ilya Kovalchuk is not expected to play tonight.

Central Division

-Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios wants more minutes and more Metamucil.

Northwest Division

-Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky each had a goal and an assist while Mathieu Garon made 24 saves for the Oilers in a 5-0 shutout of the rival Flames. Flames goaltender Curtis Joseph made his first start of the season.

-Oilers forward Shawn Horcoff will miss the rest of the season due to a shoulder injury.

-Coyotes assistant coach and former Penguin Rick Tocchet will return to the Coyotes Thursday after a two-year suspension.

-With injuries to goaltenders Jose Theodore and Tyler Weiman, the Avalanche recalled perhaps the best named-goaltender ever, Michael Wall.

Pacific Division

-Radim Vrbata's overtime goal gave the Coyotes a 4-3 win at Colorado.

-Ducks forward Teemu Selanne might make his season debut tonight.

-The Coyotes recalled former Penguins forward Matt Murley from San Antonio of the AHL. In his place, they demoted former Penguins prospect Daniel Carcillo.

-Sharks forward Devin Setoguchi was assigned to Worcester of the AHL.

-Ducks defenseman Chris Pronger isn't a fan of playing games overseas. Apparently the "butt-cut" isn't acceptable in Europe either.

Campbell Conference

-Who has improved their production the most from last season?



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