NEWARK, N.J. – In the last three minutes of play, the Penguins — trailing by one — didn’t get a shot on net against the Devils.
“We’ve been preaching a lot, especially late in games and when we have leads, to spend time [forechecking],” Martin Brodeur said. “Even though we don’t get shots on net or opportunities, you kill a lot of time and you get these guys tired and that was a good example today.”
The Devils kept the Penguins from scoring in the third period and finished with a 2-1 victory on New Year’s Eve in Newark.
“When [the Penguins] get on the ice they have the potential to keep you pinned in your own zone.” DeBoer said. “I thought we did a great job in the neutral zone in the third not giving them a lot of zone time in our end and bottling them up a little bit.”
The line of Adam Henrique, Michael Ryder and Ryane Clowe accounted for both New Jersey goals. Clowe, who returned on Dec. 27, netted his first point since Oct. 4.
“[Clowe’s] got more jump in his step, he’s feeling I think obviously more confident. He’s a streaky guy too, he always has been, a lot like Ryder, a lot like [Damien] Brunner, that’s been his history too so he’s feeling it right now,” DeBoer said.
The Devils limited Pittsburgh’s power play, allowing one opportunity. The Devils failed to score on their four man-advantage chances.
“That was a key. They [have] a great power play. We talked that we had to keep our sticks on the ice, we had to keep our feet moving, we had to make it a 5-on-5 game, not a specialty team game,” DeBoer said.
“It would’ve been nice had we [gotten] a power play goal. That could’ve been the difference [and] that’s still something we have to keep working at because the power play could’ve won us the game tonight but it didn’t. Thankfully we didn’t hurt ourselves by taking penalties.”
During the game, Patrik Elias suffered an injury after crashing into the boards. He did not return. DeBoer said he had no update on the assistant captain, who’s second in Devils scoring.
“Patrik, he’s a big part of our team he’s missed some games this year but hopefully he’s not going to miss too much or at all,” Brodeur said. “I don’t know what happened to him exactly, but he’s a big part. Leadership and offensively and defensively, [those are] minutes that other people will have to jump in if he does miss extended time.”
While New Jersey couldn’t covert on the power play, it took Henrique 1:38 seconds to beat two Pittsburgh defenders and wrist a bouncing puck past
It took 1:38 into the game for Henrique to beat two defenders and wristed a bouncing puck from the slot past Marc-Andre Fleury for the game’s first goal. It was Henrique’s third goal in as many games, matching a career high.
“Right now we’re on a good streak, but over the past month or so I felt I was playing well all over the ice, offensively getting chances, it hit the post and sometimes just seemed like it’s not going to go in,” Henrique said. “So I just made sure I’m staying on top of everything from defense to penalty kill, playing strong in the offensive zone.
“It’s been clicking lately I think we’ve been playing well as a line.”
In the second period, Ryder converted a feed from Henrique for New Jersey’s second goal. The play started when Ryder collected a clearing attempt from Brodeur near center ice.
Brodeur was credited with an assist, the 44th of his career.
“Yeah it’s good I almost gave up the puck and that’s why I kind of got lucky on the assist there,” Brodeur said. “But I’ll take it. You don’t ask how.”
The win was New Jersey’s fifth in the past eight games, and the Devils moved back over .500 for the first time in over a month.
“I like the way we’re playing now. Obviously we’ve got to get healthy, we’ve got to get some people back,” DeBoer said. “We’re overusing some people, I’ve said that before, and we need to find some depth.
“I like how we’re playing, I like where our systems are at. I think we have the people here. We have to get healthy.”