Welcome Back...to Frustration
All through the pre-season, I was concerned by what appeared to be a lack of quality defensive defensemen for the Pens. For tonight, at least those fears were realized. But first the good stuff:
The NHL is Back!! As I settled in to watch the game on NHL Center Ice I was excited to see the new star laden Pens in their first real game in 18 months. I was excited to see phenom Sidney Crosby, I was excited to see the great Mario Lemieux hit the ice with a legitimate chance to contend.
And for the first half of period 1 the anticipation was rewarded. The Pens immediately attacked the Devil's zone. The larger offensive zone and the new offsides and icing rules made for a much more exciting game. During that period the Pens outshot the Devils 12-2.
Sidney Crosby hit the ice w/ LeClair and Recchi and on his first shift he made an awesome move to the net and had a great backhand shot attempt that was stopped by Brodeur.
The refs called the game extremely tight. And the Pens were rewarded early with two separate 5-3 power-plays in the first period. Unfortunately, new offense friendly rules aside, the Pens ran into a great hall of fame goaltender. And he almost singlehandedly shut down the Penguins early attack. As the time on the second 5-3 power-play ticked away, the Penguins momentum disappeared for the rest of the game.
Late in the first period McGillis skated into the Penguins zone and shot a slapper which Thibault went down to block. He failed to control the rebound and Scuderi missed the play on the puck. Brylin picked up the rebound and shot it by Thibault.
The second Devils goal was similar. Orpik was called for a questionable interference call and Zach Parese scored on a long rebound that Melichar had a play on and failed to control. Ryan Malone had a great opportunity at the end of the period but was robbed by Brodeur who made about 8 great saves in the first period.
Early in the second Gionta poke checked the puck into his zone and banged home his own rebound on a breakaway as Scuderi failed to get back. Brodeur continued to stand on his head and frustrated the Pens.
In the third period, the game was over for the Pens when a weak shot by Gionta trickled behind Thibault as Scuderi clumsily waved at it with his stick.
The lone bright spot for the Pens came in the 3rd when Crosby hit Recchi in front of the net for the one power-play goal they were able to muster in 11 tries. Crosby picked up his first NHL point on the assist. Sidney played well and will definitely be a force to be reckoned with in the future. Brodeur was just too good on this night.
Brylin scored his second goal of the game late in the 3rd and the rest of the game was garbage time. As Crosby finished his final shift the NJ fans chanted "Over-Rated" in unison.