Despite some defensive struggles there is a lot of good to take from yesterday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Devils were facing a very skilled team in the Penguins and it did show. The Penguins will be a tough nut to crack all season and if it wasn’t for some nifty goaltending from Marc-Andre Fleury, the Devils could’ve competed and maybe even won the game.
The bright spot last night was the forwards. Stephen Gionta, Steve Bernier, and Ryan Carter were tagged with -2’s last night but even they started to build a good line. If you had to pick a weakest line for last night however, it would probably be this line.
If you look up and down the box score, you see a lot of bright spots for the forwards. Bernier, Ryane Clowe, and Dainius Zubrus were equaling or matching defenders in hits. Patrik Elias was 8-for-20 on faceoffs while Travis Zajac went 8-for-14 and Andrei Loktionov went 4-for-6. Gionta was the one low point going 0-for-7.
Damien Brunner had 8 of the Devils’ 27 shots and looked very impressive in his first regular season game with the Devils. Ryane Clowe was very close to having one goal towards the end of the game if it wasn’t for more quality goaltending from Fleury.
Adam Henrique drew a penalty shot and was robbed on a very nice right-left deke that probably would’ve made it over the pad had Henrique kept the puck closer to him to snap the shot.
Travis Zajac was also robbed on a shot that pinged off the post and was floating around behind Fleury. Fluery then snapped the puck behind his back without looking and kept it in his glove.
The top-3 lines looked impressive and were pressing the action but just couldn’t get the finish.
Tom Gulitti said they are back in NJ now but there is no morning skate. Lineups will be announced in the late afternoon and will be included in tonight’s preview.