Several nights after surrendering a 2-1 lead to the Montreal Canadiens and losing 3-2 in the final minutes, the Pittsburgh Penguins won for the first time in the young 2010-2011 season. Their first victory was at the expense of the undermanned New Jersey Devils, who played with only 15 skaters.
A late goal in the first period by Alex Goligoski gave the Penguins the 1-0 lead. Goligoski blasted a slap shot past Martin Brodeur’s glove for the 1-o lead. Rookie Eric Tangradi assisted on Goligoski’s goal.
Mark Letestu gave the Penguins a 2-0 lead as he scored a lucky powerplay goal early in the second period. Letestu’s goal was the result of a Kris Letang shot which proceeded to ricochet off Letestu’s back, off Devils defenseman Henrik Tallinder’s skate and into the net.
Goligoski has played well thus far for the Penguins, and appears to be the man to step up for former Penguin Sergei Gonchar (now with the Ottawa Senators). In three games, Goligoski has two goals, one assist and three points.
Despite the fluke Letestu goal and the loss, Brodeur was stellar in net. Brodeur saved 28 of 30 shots and made timely big saves in the third period.
The strong performance against the Penguins must give Brodeur’s fantasy owners a big sigh of relief, as Brodeur struggled through his first two games (0-1-1, 5.31 GAA and .813 SV%).
Despite leading 2-0 after two periods, the Penguins again looked like they would blow a lead. At 8:20 of the third period, Patrik Elias one-timed a Jason Arnott faceoff win and tucked it inside the post on Brent Johnson’s glove side to cut the Devils’ deficit to 2-1.
The Devils dominated the Penguins throughout the third period; however, Johnson was superb in goal. Johnson finished the game with 30 saves on 31 shots. Defenseman Paul Martin scored the empty-netter with 11 seconds remaining to give the Penguins a 3-1 victory.
Although held pointless, the Penguins’ Sidney Crosby was a +2 on the evening. After three games, Crosby currently has one point (an assist) and an even rating.