Missing an entire line, the Devils took on the Pittsburgh Penguins with a roster of only 15 skaters. Both the Penguins and the Devils were looking for their first win, and guaranteed by the end of the day one team would have theirs. Unfortunately for us, that team would be Pittsburgh.
In the past couple of games you could point out points of the game, entire periods even, in which the Devils play significantly dropped giving the opposing team the opportunity needed to take the game away. You cannot say that about this afternoon’s game.
Penalties we a bit if a concern, and could be the best point of contention that may have caused the Devils to not have as many opportunities as perhaps they should have. Part of the reason is because the the Devils found themselves a little behind on the plays. Attempting to poke-check the puck away wound up clipping player’s skates and when a Penguin would fall, a Devils penalty would be called.
To rant a little here, I think the referees were a little quick to call penalties on the Devils. First, if you enter the personal space of Sid the Crybaby Kid, a 2 minute minor for “Getting Too Close” was called. Second, even if one of the Penguins was on his was down to the ice, and then a stick of the Devils entered the skate area of a Penguin, they would call a tripping penalty. Lastly, a similar play occurred with Patrik Elias and no penalty was called. It would be fine if the referees were consistent in that call but it felt a little one-sided.
Again, just we ended last season, you can’t put too much blame on goaltending. The Devils only have six goals in three games. With the offensive prowess that the Devils are supposed to have, scoring should be a little more prevalent. Granted, it would be better and perhaps easier if they have four lines to work with for an entire game.
PL Leblond found himself today nearly out of a job. Today he was scheduled to serve his one game suspension issued automatically by the NHL when he instigated a fight with less than 5 minutes to go in the game last Saturday against the Washington Capitals. Instead, he was placed on waivers by the Devils. He must wait 48 hours before he can clear waivers. Once that is complete and no one signs him, he can be sent down to the Devils minor league affiliate, the Albany Devils, or can return to the Devils if need be with their shortened roster.
Brian Rolston is still listed with a lower back injury and Anton Volchenkov is sidelined with a broken nose. Both players are listed as day to day and could return at any time.
The Devils will next see action this Wednesday when they take on the Buffalo Sabres in Buffalo. Searching for their first win, they hope to have a little more of a solid roster. Buffalo so far this season has a 2-1-0 record, with their last contest marking their first loss of the season.