The New Jersey Devils proved that they were not intimidated by the star-laced team of the Penguins, thrashing Pittsburgh 4-0.
By Patrick Comia
It was all Devils, all the time tonight.
The mighty Pittsburgh Penguins, who were winners of seven of their last nine games entering the Prudential Center, did not appear as mighty as their past record would indicate.
They had no answer for the Devils offense, as the team was able to produce scoring opportunity after scoring opportunity at will. Whenever a Penguins player turned to play the puck, a Devil was there to cause havoc and run wreckloose in their own zone.
Jeff Zatkoff, giving the night off to Marc-Andre Fleury, certainly didn’t expect the onslaught he faced. He face a total of 37 shots, and several odd-man rushes by the Devils. It wasn’t a pretty sight if you were a Penguins fan.
New Jersey generated scoring opportunities in different situations of the game: even-strength, power-play, and shorthanded. But, it was the lack of a defensive presence of the Penguins that enabled the Devils to pounce on them, through the full 60 minutes.
It all started back in the first from a goal from David Schlemko, who notched his second of the season, after a strange sequence of plays that saw Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi knock the puck into his own net, while dislodging it from its moorings.
A player who assisted on that goal and had a big offensive night was Mike Cammalleri. Entering tonight, he was tied with Kyle Palmieri for the team lead in points. However, he regained the title as leading scorer with his three-point night, registering one goal and two assists.
His second-period goal was an example of how highly skilled he is for the Devils.
The Devils would add two more goals in the third-period thanks to Bobby Farnham and Lee Stempniak to put the game out of reach for the Penguins. After Stempniak’s goal, @NHLDevils twitter took to social media and expressed how the felt about his goal:
— New Jersey Devils (@NHLDevils) November 15, 2015
Of course the shutout wouldn’t have been reality if it were not for the key saves early in the game by Cory Schneider. Nothing was getting past the Devils number one goalie, as he became a brick wall to Sidney Crosby and company.
He recorded 21 saves, en route to his first shutout of the season and pushing his record to 9-4-1.
The Devils are making some noise in the Eastern Conference, and it may be time for other teams to take notice. If not, then that will be ok. New Jersey seems comfortable playing the outcast, while enjoying the spoils of winning.
They are on a two-game win streak and have moved past the Penguins for third place in the Metropolitan Division. Next is the Washington Capitals, whom they are two points behind.
The Devils next opportunity to help their cause will be this coming Tuesday, as they will embark on a three-game road rip through Western Canada, starting with the Calgary Flames.
For now, the Devils and their fans have no qualms about siting back and letting their recent string of success sink in!
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