Big Lead Sports Bar


Pens, Johnson Get First Win in New Jersey

Brent Johnson, starting in place of the much-maligned Marc-Andre Fleury, stopped 30 of 31 shots as the Penguins beat the New Jersey Devils by a 3-1 final Monday afternoon to gain their first win of the 2010-11 regular season.

Late in the first period, Eric Tangradi forced Ilya Kovalchuk into a turnover which Alex Goligoski quickly converted into the first goal of the game. The Pens would take a 2-0 lead just 2:32 into the second, as a Kris Letang slapshot deflected off of Mark Letestu's skate and past Martin Brodeur at the end of a power play. 

Patrik Elias got the Devils' only goal of the game at 8:20 of the third, beating Johnson with a slap shot off of the faceoff; but that would turn out to be the extent of the New Jersey offensive fireworks. A late Paul Martin empty-netter set up by Chris Kunitz would seal the Penguins' first victory over the Devils since April, 2009.

The Pens, winless in their first two contests of the season, played without Brooks Orpik and lost Zbynek Michalek during the game to a hand injury. The Devils were also short-handed for this holiday game, playing with only 15 skaters.

The Pens (1-2) will try a third time for their first regular-season win at the Consol Energy Center on Wednesday night, as the Toronto Maple Leafs (2-0) come to town for a 7:30 start.

Mondesi's House: The Director's Cut (more links, commentary, etc):


Dom Errico said...

Glad the Pens got into the win column. Shame I missed the game since I had to work.

Seriously...a 4 PM game?

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

There were a few afternoon games today.

It's because the NHL apparently thinks that people actually get Columbus Day off.

Either that, or they were special games just for postal workers and bank tellers.

I think our team defense is improving (a horrid 30 seconds against MTL notwithstanding).

I've been VERY impressed with Eric Tangradi in these 1st 3 games. Get him in front of the net on the power play please! He is the replacement power forward for Ryan Malone we've been looking for the last 2 seasons!

BurressWithButterflywings said...

Tangradi is def a big, strong guy with a good net presence.

We still left a few out there, but Brodeur seriously is still amazing.

okel dokel said...

Hard to criticize any NHL team at this point in the season because it is basically meaningless.

The Pens started out last year on fire and stumbled in the playoffs. The Orange Crap (a.k.a. Flyers) barely made it to the playoffs and where in the finals.

That said - Jordan Staal makes a difference. Tangradi and Letestu look good so far. It will be interesting when Asham returns.

Steve said...

Even though it's still early, defensively the team looks better than at any point last season. In this game I actually saw them trying to hold the blue line instead of caving like a wet tissue toward the goalie, which has been the Pens defensive game for the last 20 years.

Of course I'll get heat for this but the least impressive part of an already unimpressive Pens PP is Crosby. He was awful on the 5 on 3 yesterday and is still always either having his terrible passes picked off, passing up on shots for the fancy play, or missing the net altogether when he does shoot.

5 on 5 you can blame his linemates all you want, but when the anemic play follows him on the PP, then who's to blame then? Everyone else I guess. I know it's only 3 games into the season but only 1 assist so far for a super star who finally got some much needed rest in the offseason is kinda lame.

I'm not asking for him or Malkin to carry the team because it is a team sport, but more timely goals now and then from the $8.7 mil. twins would be nice. Until they start playing up to their contracts, I'd rather not hear how Letang or Kennedy are not playing up to theirs. All things being relative, they are more than playing for their pay.

BurressWithButterflywings said...

After 3 games you are going to make the assessment that Malkin and Crosby aren't playing up to their contracts?

Crosby finished 2nd in the league in scoring last season and had ZERO scoring talent on his line. Yes, he has missed the net here in the FIRST THREE GAMES OF THE SEASON, but I think that may be a bit of a knee-jerk reaction.

HomeRunFromBehindTheMeatballs said...

Don't forget, teachers/students were probably off to see the game too. What a joke of a 'holiday'. Let's celebrate a screwup.

I'm not fretting the 1-2 start or no goals out of sid/geno. It's an 82 games season! How many of you clowns think Brent Johnson should be starting over Fleury? His numbers are waaay better so far!

And once Staal comes back, this is a much different, much better team (imo).

BurressWithButterflywings said...

I am a big critic of Fleury because I think he has more talent than brains. But there is no doubt in my minf Flower would be starting tomorrow if it was my call.

Unknown said...

Johnson posted better stats then Fleury last year without a monster contract. So far this year he has posted better stats. If the games are meaningless, why not shock Fleury (ala Tomlin with benching Mendenhall before) into reality by starting Johnson for a while? Johnson is not playing any worse and has better puck handling. If Fleury improves, you win. If he doesn't and Johnson plays consistent, you win.