Without Jagr, Penguins Get Even With Devils
By Ken Rappoport
Jagr, the Penguins' team captain, was scratched right before game time because of a groin injury suffered in Thursday night's 3-1 loss to the Devils in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
Jagr was listed as day-to-day by the Penguins, who hope their top player can return for Game 3 on Sunday in Pittsburgh.
The Penguins didn't seem to miss their star forward, generally regarded as the top one-on-one player in the NHL. Even without Jagr, they were a different team that finished 15 points behind the Eastern Conference leaders and lost four of five games to the Devils during the season and five straight counting the Game 1 loss.
Aleksey Morozov, Greg Andrusak, Martin Straka and Alexei Kovalev scored for Pittsburgh and the Penguins simply suffocated the Devils with a tight-checking defense that allowed few quality chances.
Barrasso stopped 25 shots before Dave Andreychuk finally scored for the Devils from in close with 8:19 left. Barrasso finished with 28 saves.
The Penguins' penalty killers played a big part, killing five New Jersey power plays. The Devils, No. 4 in the NHL on the power play during the regular season, have yet to score a goal with the man advantage on nine attempts in the series.
The Penguins took a 1-0 lead at 7:09 of the first period when Morozov scored on a rebound after Brad Werenka hit the goal post with a shot from the left circle.
The Penguins appeared to have scored a power-play goal 31 seconds into the second period, but Straka's goal was called off after a review showed that Morozov was in the crease.
Andrusak made it 2-0 at 3:19 of the second, scoring from the low slot with a quick shot after taking a great pass from Kip Miller behind the goal line. Straka then scored one that counted, beating Martin Brodeur in front at 12:55 after the Devils failed to clear the puck and German Titov at the side boards passed the puck to his teammate in front.
Kovalev put the Penguins ahead 4-0 when he scored at 1:41 of the third period on a deflection of Kevin Hatcher's shot from the right boards.
© Copyright 1999 The Associated Press