Saturday, December 31, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Devils 3, Penguins 1
By Mike Mazzeo
WHAT IT MEANS: Martin Brodeur made 29 saves and the Devils closed out 2011 with a 3-1 victory over the Penguins on New Year's Eve at the Prudential Center. New Jersey (21-15-1) has now won two straight. Zach Parise iced the game with his 13th goal into an empty net with 49.5 seconds remaining.
MARTY OWNS YOU: Brodeur is now 9-1-1 in his last 11 starts against the Penguins. The 39-year-old goaltender's best save of the afternoon came when he stoned Tyler Kennedy on a breakaway at 11:56 of the second period. He later robbed Matt Cooke on the doorstep with 4:26 left in the third. Chris Kunitz ended his shutout bid with 10:35 remaining when he scored on the power play.
CLARKIE: David Clarkson put the Devils up by two with 23.2 seconds remaining in the opening frame when he knocked in a rebound of Patrik Elias' 5-on-3 power-play shot from the right circle that caromed off the left post. It was Clarkson's 13th goal of the season. The Devils have scored just 18 goals on the man-advantage this season. They came in tied for 27th with Dallas in that department.
MAKING IT COUNT: Ilya Kovalchuk was awarded a penalty shot after a Penguins defenseman closed his glove on the puck in the crease with 5:17 left in the first. He gave the Devils a 1-0 lead shortly after, quickly moving in before going five-hole with a wrister. It was Kovalchuk’s 12th goal of the season, and second career penalty shot goal. The Devils are now 2-for-3 on penalty shots this season. Parise split their first two opportunities.
INJURY NEWS: Defenseman Anton Volchenkov suffered a lower body injury, it was announced before the start of the third period.
OF NOTE: Defenseman Henrik Tallinder returned to the lineup after missing the last six games with back spasms. Matt Taormina was scratched. Center Ryan Carter also returned to the lineup. Left winger Eric Boulton was scratched.