Although the New Jersey Devils played a better game than their effort on Saturday, the end result was the same as they suffered a 4-2 loss to their Atlantic Division rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins got two goals from Pascal Dupuis, the second being a shorthanded empty-netter that squashed any hopes the Devils had of tying the game and sending it to overtime.
The Devils were on the power play after Jordan Staal was whistled for tripping. Hedberg was on his way to the bench for the extra attacker, but he had to reverse direction after Dupuis corralled a loose puck and fired it towards the vacated net. Hedberg made a last-ditch dive, even throwing his stick, but it was too late as Dupuis’ shot hit the back of the net to seal the win for the Pens.
Staal opened the scoring for the Penguins in the first period. While on the power play, Staal notched his 11th goal of the season after he flipped a shot over a sprawling Hedberg.
Dave Steckel scored his first goal as a Devil to tie the game with just under five minutes to play in the second period. Steckel’s goal was met with a chorus of boos as the astute Penguins fans have not forgotten the collision he was involved in with their captain Sidney Crosby. The incident occurred in this year’s Winter Classic when Steckel was a member of the Washington Capitals. Crosby has missed the past 39 games because of a concussion that is believed to be the result of the run-in with Steckel.
Dupuis responded with his first goal of the night just over a minute later after he banged home a rebound off a Max Talbot shot.
Chris Kunitz made it 3-1 in favor of the Penguins just 1:31 into the third period. Kunitz came out of the left corner and slid a backhander underneath a diving Hedberg.
The Devils answered quickly as Brian Rolston took a feed from Mattias Tedenby and unleashed a one-timer from the slot that beat Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
Tedenby was arguably the best player on the ice for the Devils. He was a nuisance throughout the game on the fore-check, and his hard work on the cycle set up Rolston’s goal. His endless array of moves and his elusiveness are certainly something the Devils will value for years to come.
Devils coach Jacques Lemaire said that Tedenby was “probably the best player on the ice for us.”
Brian Rolston was also quick to praise the efforts of the young Swede.
“The kid is tremendously skilled,” Rolston told the Bergen Record. “He’s got so many skills and he’s so shifty. Guys can’t even hit him. He made a great play, went in, made an individual effort and just saw me and put it on my tape. I thought he played really well on our line tonight. There’s a lot of talent there.”
Although this season will end on a sour note for the Devils since they will not be participating in the playoffs, the prospects for next season look bright with the likes of Tedenby and fellow Swedish rookie Jacob Josefson playing more prominent roles on the team.
About the Author
Written by Matt Pellicane
I am currently pursuing a master's degree in Journalism from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. I graduated from Quinnipiac in May 2010 with a bachelor's degree in print journalism. While at Quinnipiac, I covered various sporting events on campus for the online newspaper The Quad News. I was born and raised in Bridgewater, New Jersey and have been an avid sports fan all of my life. I am a fan of the New Jersey Devils, New York Giants, New York Yankees, and the Boston Celtics.