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Full Story: Penguins Fire 42 Shots but Not Close, Devils beat Pens 3-2

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Pittsburgh Penguins New Jersey Devils Travis Zajac

The Pittsburgh Penguins did not have a good debut without center Evgeni Malkin and Teddy Blueger. The team fired 42 shots on goal but scored just once in the first 59 minutes and 56 seconds as the next-to-last place New Jersey Devils beat the Penguins 3-2 at the Prudential Center on Thursday night.

There was lots of traffic near the nets, but the cohesive offense wasn’t there.

“I thought when we had O-zone time, we had good chances, I just think we’ve got to get to the front of the net a little more,” Jake Guentzel said. “(Wedgewood) saw too many of those shots. We’ll take the number of shots but we have to make sure we’re making it tougher on him next time.”

The Penguins’ second goal came with just four seconds remaining in the game when Bryan Rust whipped a wrister through New Jersey goalie Scott Wedgewood.

The first period was more of an introduction. It was the first Penguins game of eight against New Jersey. However, 2019 first-overall pick Jack Hughes (7) broke the ice with a slick individual play. He stole the puck from the Penguins breakout, then slipped around the Penguins defense for a wicked wrister in the six inches between goalie Tristan Jarry’s shoulder and the crossbar.

The Penguins also had to introduce themselves to their new teammates. Three of the four Penguins lines had new faces as Evgeni Malkin, Teddy Blueger, and Jared McCann are on IR.

New Jersey also upped their forecheck pressure in the second period. They used their chips on the table to come after the Penguins. It wasn’t uncommon to see three skaters inside the blue line.

The Penguins looked good on paper, but the eye tests favored New Jersey in a big way. New Jersey scored twice more in the second period.

“We didn’t like too much of the first. We pushed in the second and third, but you can’t spot them that many goals,” Guentzel said. “That’s the good thing about the schedule, we get them on Saturday and Sunday…”

First, the home of Tony Soprano scored a power-play goal. With a few bodies in front of the net, New Jersey defenseman P.K. Subban (3) unleashed a slap shot from the point. Jarry didn’t see the puck until it was zipping through his five-hole. 2-0.

Then, 97 seconds later, Travis Zajac (3) was given credit for the unknowing deflection of Damon Severson’s soft point shot.

The Penguins did score a power-play goal, too. Late in the second period, after Evan Rodrigues roped Michael McLeod into an interference penalty, the Penguins finally cracked New Jersey goalie Scott Wedgewood.

Guentzel (12) deflected Kris Letang’s point shot.

It was the first goal the Pittsburgh Penguins scored on Scott Wedgewood, ever. On March 24, 2016, the goalie dished a 39-save shutout in his second NHL game. Even more impressive, you’ll recall that was during the “March of the Penguins,” in which they began their Stanley Cup run.

“Some of (the 42 shots) were quality, that’s for sure. When you’re trying to manufacture some offense, you’ve got to shoot the puck, put the puck on the net, and put pucks in play to try to create those next play opportunities. I thought the shot clock is an indication of that,” Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said. “…We had a lot of opportunity for those next play chances at the net-front or off the rebounds … we didn’t finish on as many of them tonight, but hopefully we will moving forward.”

The Penguins fired 42 shots on the New Jersey goal, but Wedgewood stopped 40. Tristan Jarry stopped 32 of 35. According to NaturalStatTrick.com, the scoring chances were about even, with a slight edge to the Penguins.

Gold Stars:

We liked Anthony Angello’s game. He earned more ice time than usual and dished a pretty solid thump on Devils scorer Kyle Palmieri.

We also liked the offensive push from the Matheson-Ceci pairing. Matheson often jumped into the rush. They created shots and traffic in front, but nothing lit the lamp.

There were plenty of scrums and scrambles for the puck in the net area, but the Penguins only got one of those, and no one has any idea how Kasperi Kapanen didn’t score.

John Marino had a better game. It was a good welcome back for the sophomore d-man.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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Big B
Big B
4 months ago

John Marino sucked tonight as did Rust who ended almost every Crosby shift with a bad pass or stumbling taking the puck as he has not been good in several weeks, he looks hurt or lazy.The coach screwed the team by breaking up the third line.Sam lafferty belongs in the ECHL.Zohorna should take his place.

Tony
Tony
4 months ago
Reply to  Big B

The coach did not break up the third line. Blueger is out with an injury.

Big B
Big B
4 months ago
Reply to  Tony

Should have kept Tanev and ZAR together.

Big B
Big B
4 months ago

At some point its the PENS not the C-LIST opposite goalie.Jarry starts most games backing ino his own net and he should have stopped Jack Hughes.This tean can’t defend in it’s own zone.Juuso Riikola should be playing as he is better on offense and much more physical than Petterson.

Tony
Tony
4 months ago

re: “The team fired 42 shots on goal but scored just once as the next-to-last place New Jersey Devils beat the Penguins 3-2″

May want to rewrite that sentence.

Chase Ranson
Chase Ranson
4 months ago

Petterson is weak needs to be scratched no worries here comes a long loosing no matter what Sully does

Eric Bouchard
Eric Bouchard
4 months ago

Pettersson is….SO bad. Loses all puck and position battles. Not physical, Not really offensive or defensive. 6’4 playing like a 5’4. And 4M per y for this taller Oli Maatta. NOPE He would be trade bait in a couple of weeks. Jankowski….useless. But with all the injured C…..Still I would try a young kid from WBS instead. If Geno, and others arent back soon this team is doomed. And we will see the real Hextall work. This wont be a retool….but a rebuilt He’s not known to be active. And when he does…its for a long term rebuild. EX. the… Read more »

Bachinga
Bachinga
4 months ago

It’s time for the ERod experiment to be shuttered…it’s a pick ’em as to who is the worst…Jankowski…Lafferty…ERod…and way too many minutes for an ineffective 4th line last night…

Bachinga
Bachinga
4 months ago
Reply to  Dan Kingerski

It’s moot now with McCann back, but if you were hellbent on having a wing play center then keep ZAR and Tanev together with Rust. Move Kap up to first line and for the third go Angello, Jankowski with ERod back on the wing and bottom 6 where he belongs.

And thanks for your response…love this site…good reporting.

Last edited 4 months ago by Bachinga
BIG B
BIG B
4 months ago

Even with 42 shots they were bad last night. Letang got two points but he was bad early on as it looked like he deflected one in on Jarry.He lost the puck with no pressure at least three times to kill the Pen’s first powerplay.He also caused the Penalty Rust took because he was up on the play and lost the puck ONCE AGAIN WITH NOBOBY PRESSURING HIM.

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