“You can’t beat us” was the chant from the New Jersey Devils crowd in the final seconds of Friday’s game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and New Jersey Devils. The Devils crowd which for a rare time this season resembled somewhat of a playoff atmosphere, were not exaggerating one bit with their final seconds chant.
The Devils dominance against Pittsburgh has been somewhat remarkable this season. Not the fact that New Jersey is 5-0 against the defending champs this season but how they have outscored Pittsburgh 17-3 in 5 meetings.
For Pittsburgh, they get one last chance at beating New Jersey in the regular season as the two division rivals meet for the last time at the Prudential Center Wednesday night.
Inside the Penguins locker room, earning a win against New Jersey is very important for Pittsburgh as the Penguins return to practice Tuesday morning in preparations for their final meeting with New Jersey.
There is some thought around the team that when the playoffs begin, the Devils will all of a sudden not be a matchup problem for Pittsburgh.
However, 5 games is a good enough barometer to show that Devils are a matchup problem for Pittsburgh.
The Devils have dominated the Penguins at even strength. Being outscored 17-3 is alarming in itself but Pittsburgh is 0-for-18 on the power play in 5 games.
If there’s a primary area to Pittsburgh beating New Jersey Wednesday night, it’s going to be getting production from their power play. The Penguins were 0-for-5 on the man advantage in Friday’s loss, which was the Penguins most competitive game against New Jersey this season.
The Penguins are scheduled to go through a 65 minute + workout on Tuesday and the power play will likely be an area of focus, especially if Evgeni Malkin is unable to practice.
The Devils and Penguins are separated by two points with the Devils having a game in hand and owning the head-to-head tiebreaker. If the playoffs started today, Pittsburgh would have an opening round matchup against the Montreal Canadians.
Updated Eastern Conference Standings
1 Washington – 69 GP – 101 pts
2. Pittsburgh – 69 GP – 87 pts
3. Buffalo – 67 GP – 82 pts
4. New Jersey – 68 GP – 85 pts
5. Ottawa – 69 GP – 79 pts
6. Philadelphia – 68 GP – 76 pts
7. Montreal – 70 GP – 76 pts
8. Boston – 68 GP – 72 pts
9. NY Rangers – 69 GP – 71 pts
10. Tampa Bay – 68 GP – 68 pts
11. Atlanta – 68 GP – 67 pts
12. Florida – 67 GP – 66 pts