The three victories to start the season are ancient history, and the three overtime losses that followed seem like the good ole' days when compared to the 5-1 clunker the New Jersey Devils dropped to the Pittsburgh Penguins Saturday afternoon.
No, there is no shrugging this one off. No "they got a lucky break" or "we were just a bit off our game." No, this was a butt kicking administered by a team that figures to have something to say about how the Eastern Conference will be won this season. And come Super Sunday, the Devils are back at it again against an Islanders teams that spanked them Thursday night.
For the gory details, it was Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz who did the damage with a goal and two assists each and the Devils allowed three goals on 10 shots in the third period.
“It wasn’t pretty, but a good team like that if you don’t show up with your 'A' game, they can make you look bad and that’s what happened,” Devils coach Pete DeBoer said.
New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur has now allowed 10 goals in his last two starts, another distressing development.
“It was one of those games,” Brodeur told reporters. “They pressured us with their speed a lot. They made us make mistakes. It’s not a fun game to play when you have a lot of breakdowns like that. It doesn’t happen too often.”
Furthermore, the Devils have been helping the opposition's cause with consistently sloppy play. Just ask DeBoer how the Devils have been playing lately.
“For me, if you’re going to play that way, you might as well get beat 5-1 or 6-1 rather than 2-1 and fool yourself,” DeBoer said. “So, it was a good lesson for us. We’ve only lost one game in regulation, but we’ve got to get back to work here.”
In a hurry, especially when you consider New Jersey has been playing from behind in three of its last four games, unable to get a lead and combined with sloppy play, unable to get two points.
The Penguins were large and in charge, finishing with nearly double the number of shots New Jersey managed at 30-16.
Patrik Elias was his usual forthright self when talking to the Bergen Record's Tom Gulitti after the game.
“It’s got to bother you a little bit the things that we’ve done and if it wasn’t for Marty the game was over right in the first period,” Elias said. “It’s a good team. They make plays. Some of our things didn’t work as well as against the other teams and they make plays in the offensive zone, the neutral zone, quick ups and we had trouble with that. And offensively we couldn’t get anything going.
“A lot of times we’d put the puck in simply. We tried to play the simple game, but we never got the puck back, never sustained any kind of pressure.”
All combined to be the building blocks of a four game losing streak.Tags: Hockey, New Jersey, New Jersey Devils, NHL, pittsburgh penguins, sidney crosby