The New Jersey Devils extended their winning-streak to five games on Sunday evening after defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 3-1. The Devils dominated the Penguins this weekend, outscoring their division rival 6-2 in two games and playing solid hockey for the full 120 minutes.
Ryan Carter energized the Devils as soon as the puck dropped. He scrapped with Robert Bortuzzo and got a few good hits in. The Devils committed only three minor penalties tonight and kept the Penguins off the board on the penalty kill.
David Clarkson collected his eighth and ninth goals of the season tonight, propelling the Devils to victory. Ilya Kovalchuk added his fourth tally of the year in between.
And what else can be said about Devils' goaltender Johan Hedberg? Moose played in his third game this season, stopping 23 of 24 shots, and collected his second win. Throughout those three games, Hedberg has only allowed 2 goals and is 2-0-1. It is nice to know that there is a solid goaltender ready to go behind Martin Brodeur--Hedberg definitely provides that comfort.
Photo: Keith Srakocic
The Devils power play has really come to life over the five-game win streak. After going 1-for-1 tonight, New Jersey has connected on seven of its last 22 opportunities (32%). Excellent puck movement has led to goals, and goals lead to wins.
The Devils defense really stepped it up tonight. Evgeni Malkin was limited to just one point (an assist) tonight, while Sidney Crosby put up a goose egg in the points column. The "superstar" forwards were held to a combined one point in the home-and-home series.
I am happy to report that there are no negatives, as far as I can see, with the way the Devils are playing as of late. If they keep this up, they are serious Cup contenders. And don't tell me that our fast start "doesn't matter." Of course it does. In a shortened season, getting off to a good start is key.
New Jersey is now 8-1-3 to start the year. They have collected 19 out of 24 possible points, good enough for second in the NHL. The Devils are on pace for 76/96 points this year. That will win the Eastern Conference. Guaranteed.
Jersey's Team looks to continue its red-hot play on Tuesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes. Puck drop is set for 7:00 PM at The Rock. For all of your latest Devils news and reaction, follow us on twitter. Staff writer Scott Robb can also be found on twitter.