It wasn’t a great game by the Pittsburgh Penguins until the third period. The Penguins were suffocated by the Devils in all three zones but unlike a generation ago when bigger and slower New Jersey players would water ski behind the Penguins talented forwards, New Jersey also outskated the Penguins.
New Jersey made the Penguins look slow.
The Devils pressured the Penguins breakouts. Skated with them, stride for stride in the neutral zone. And they were aggressive in the defensive zone. The Penguins again lost their patience and some defensive pinches, including one by Kris Letang, were uncovered by high forwards. New Jersey turned those mistakes into odd-man breaks including Taylor Hall’s game-winning goal.
The Penguins were able to make headway when they simplified their game, chipped and chased, and won the low zone battles for the puck. However, they were not able to sustain that and New Jersey turned Penguins pressure into a few glorious chances, while the Penguins had precious few Grade A chances.