NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, March 12th
(All times eastern)
Pittsburgh Penguins (40-22-5) at New Jersey Devils (39-23-3), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - A key battle for the Atlantic Division crown is on tap
tonight in Newark as the Pittsburgh Penguins visit the New Jersey Devils at
The Penguins lead the Atlantic with 85 points, while New Jersey -- the
defending division champs -- are four points behind.
Pittsburgh and the Devils will complete the regular-season series next week,
meeting for the final time Wednesday in New Jersey. The Devils have taken all
four encounters with the defending Stanley Cup champions this year and have
outscored the Pens by a 14-2 margin in those tests.
The Devils have six wins in the last eight meetings with Pittsburgh overall
and have taken three of the last four clashes in Newark.
New Jersey has struggled lately, going 4-7-1 over its last 12 outings. The
Devils were able to snap a two-game slide with Wednesday's home win over the
rival New York Rangers.
Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner was one of six different goal-scorers who
led New Jersey to the 6-3 win over the Rangers. Langenbrunner, Brian Rolston,
Travis Zajac and Rob Niedermayer each had a goal and an assist for New Jersey,
while Zach Parise and Bryce Salvador also lit the lamp.
Dainius Zubrus, Andy Greene and Mike Mottau each collected two helpers for the
Devils, who returned from a 1-3-0 road trip to play their first home game
since a 5-2 triumph over Nashville on February 12.
"It was a good test for us. We needed to get a win in a tough battle," said
Langenbrunner, who reached the 600-point mark with an assist on Salvador's
goal in the first period,
Martin Brodeur made 16 saves on 19 shots to earn the win -- his 36th this
The Devils are 21-9-1 as the host this year and have won three of their last
four at the Rock.
Meanwhile, the Penguins had a four-game winning streak halted Thursday in
Carolina, dropping an overtime decision to the Hurricanes. Brian Pothier
scored on a one-timer 23 seconds into the extra session to lift the hosts at
"I think that the team we played tonight has proven all year long that they
are not going to stop playing. They are going to work regardless of the
standings," said Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma.
Jordan Staal, Bill Guerin and Matt Cooke provided the offense for Pittsburgh,
which picked up at least a point in its ninth straight game (5-0-4). Sidney
Crosby added an assist to push his point streak to six games.
Brent Johnson allowed four goals on 21 shots to take the loss. Regular starter
Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to be back between the pipes tonight.
The Penguins are making the second stop on a five-game road trip tonight.
Pittsburgh is 19-12-2 as the guest this year, tying the club with Washington
for the most road wins in the Eastern Conference.
Eric Godard is questionable tonight for the Pens with a groin injury, while
fellow forward Tyler Kennedy is expected to miss his second straight test with
the same issue.
03/12 11:05:10 ET