New Jersey Devils coach Pete DeBoer knows how tough it is to sweep a home-and-home series. It’s even tougher when the team wins the first game.
“Sometimes, there’s a natural reaction to take your foot off the gas winning the front end of a home-and-home,” DeBoer said. “We can’t do that.”
DeBoer wants his team to “get greedy and go for four points” as they finish their home-and-home series with the rival Pittsburgh Penguins tonight at the CONSOL Energy Center.
New Jersey (7-1-3) took the first game, 3-1, yesterday at the Prudential Center. The win extended their win streak to a season-high four games, vaulting them one point ahead of Pittsburgh and into the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
The win also snapped Pittsburgh’s five-game win streak.
It was a game of firsts for two Devils. Rookie Stefan Matteau scored his first NHL goal and forward Bobby Butler collected his first two points as a Devil.
Adam Henrique scored the game-winner, his third straight game with a goal. Brandon Sutter scored the lone Penguins goal, a powerplay tally just 1:32 into regulation.
The two teams combined for 16 powerplays and 20 minor penalties. New Jersey went just 2-for-10 with the man advantage. The 10 opportunities were tied for the third most in a single game in franchise history. It was the first time the Devils had 10 power plays since December 28, 2005 against the Washington Capitals.
Johan Hedberg will start tonight’s game for the Devils. He’s 1-0-1 in two starts this season, allowing just one goal on 50 shots. Tomas Vokoun will start for the Penguins. He’s 3-1-0 with a 2.08 goals-against average, .927 save percentage and one shutout this season.
The Devils have struggled at CONSOL Energy Center since it opened in August of 2010. Pittsburgh is 6-1-0 against New Jersey in their previous seven home games, outscoring New Jersey 21-10.