One night after igniting the lamp for seven goals in a victory over the Metro-leading Washington Capitals, the Pittsburgh Penguins were held to a season-low 16 shots as they looked extremely flat while dropping a 3-1 decision to the New Jersey Devils.
Travis Zajac would beat Casey DeSmith twice as he led the Devils to their third straight win and ending the Pens four-game winning streak in the process.
Evgeni Malkin would get the lone Pittsburgh goal in the losing effort. Sidney Crosby was denied an apparent goal in the third period that would have cut the lead to 3-2 with plenty of time remaining. Crosby also missed a wide open net in the first period from a spot he’s buried dozens of shots from; all alone in the faceoff dot with a goalie scrambling to get post-to-post.
Is Sid squeezing his stick a little tighter in his quest for No. 400? Not sure, but it was clear from the jump on Saturday in Newark that the Penguins just had nothing in the tank after an. It was an emotional game and win on Friday.
Ian Cole would even try to spark the club with a fight towards the end of the opening period when he fought Stefan Nielsen, but even that didn’t work.
Credit Cole for a having a decent night as he picked up an assist on the Malkins goal, falling just a goal short of the Geordie Howe hat-trick.
Also credit Casey DeSmith for showing up too, as he fought through a listless club in front of him to make 35 saves. In a three-minute stretch of the third, he made at least four saves on breakaways and odd-man rushes in a microcosm of his night.
Unfortunately for DeSmith his margin for error was razor-thin as he was sent back to Wilkes-Barre Scranton on Sunday.
The Penguins have recalled goaltender Tristan Jarry from the @WBSPenguins.
Jarry won all three of his starts during his recent stint with WBS. He stopped 80 of 85 shots (.941 SVP) during that span.
Casey DeSmith has been re-assigned to WBS.
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 4, 2018
Malkin has now scored eight goals in his last four games.
Crosby would see his 11-game point streak come to an end.
Patric Hornqvist stayed in Pittsburgh after leaving the Caps game due to injury. In a pre-game media scrum, Mike Sullivan sounded optimistic that Hornqvist injury would be more short-term, than long.
Zach Ashton-Reese made his Penguins debut. Reese who grew up just a couple of hours from Newark had a golden chance on his first shift as a pro, but his slap shot all alone from the slot was denied by Devils keeper Keith Kinkaid.
Kinkaid almost broke a sweat for the night, stopping 15 of 16 shots.
Pittsburgh would fail on their only power play chance early in the game when Wood went off for hooking just 1:34 into the game.
#Pens coach Sullivan: "For whatever reason, we didn’t have any jump tonight. We just didn’t have our legs. We certainly got outplayed. We deserved to lose." -MC
— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) February 4, 2018
Blake Coleman would get the other goal for the Devils as a stretch of 2:35 seconds in the second period saw the game go from 0-0 to 2-0 and effectively put the game out of reach.
The Penguins return to action on Tuesday night when Marc-Andre Fleury makes his first visit to Pittsburgh as a member of the Vegas Golden Knights in what is sure to be a game to stir the emotions of fans and players alike.
Pittsburgh will also be looking to avenge a 2-1 loss to Vegas from back in mid-December
We will have all of your coverage here at Pittsburgh Sports Castle on our website and Twitter account. I will also have a recap of the game on Wednesday morning.
Thanks, as always, for reading!