Pookie’s prediction: if Pretty Ricky had been playing it would have been 2-1 Islanders. With Dunham in net? 16-0 Isles.
Schnookie’s prediction: 4-1 Islanders. Dunham will only face 14 shots.
Boomer’s prediction: a half-hearted, “Ohh…. I’ll say Devs… 3-2.”
Before the game starts, let us say, between the random sketch comedy ad our satellite threw at us and that Vault commercial, Interchangeable Parts is feeling like we are decidedly NOT the target audience for this broadcast.
20:00 Having Doc call the game on VS makes this foreign broadcast feel homier. It’s like bringing your own pillows to a hotel.
19:36 Engblom tells us the Devils have the fourth-worst record in the NHL in March. ONLY the fourth? Feelin’ good about the playoffs….
18:23 Uh oh. Dunham can stop Parise. That can’t be good. Does this mean Zach’s over the Nilsson thing by now?
18:10 Doc mentions Tambellini is a second-generation Islander. We hope Zach heard that.
16:50 Raffie is one of only 7 defenseman ironmen in the league? Really? That seems difficult to believe, but we’re happy for Raffie. Oh, our happiness is crushed when Engblom adds Raffie’s got our best +/-. +5. We’re staggered. We suck so bad.
15:43 Doc cues the Islanders first goal by mentioning Marty’s shutout streak against them.
15:26 A broken play involving a high-lobbed puck, Marty missing his attempt to catch it, and a frantic scrum in front with the loose puck should have been an Isles goal (thanks Doc), but instead Yashin takes a penalty. We think we just got a glimpse of why Islanders fans are so totally enamored of their captain.
14:29 Engblom thinks Dunham looks shaky. He also earns his paycheck by pointing out Gomer is our best puck carrier on the PP, and perhaps the Islanders PK should focus on him. REALLY? Ya think?
13:50 WTF? We begin to shout at Zach that he is fired for whiffing on the open net, but how bad is Dunham? How bad is the Isles PK? Zach sticks with it, finds the rebound, and chips it home. Zach, you’re hired again. (Furthermore, that’s his 30th! He’s not stupid!)
13:02 Doc points out that Travis picked up the 30th-goal puck for Zach. He tells us that, when asked if he kept his 20th-goal puck, Zach couldn’t figure out why anyone would bother with something so insignificant. Pando: “Fuck. You.”
12:18 Pookie just noticed she’s watching hockey with the windows open, warm breezes blowing in, here in Central Jersey. Her innards clutch as she realizes the playoffs are just around the corner.
12:01 Christine Simpson is actually wearing a shirt today. What, the Devs don’t warrant a leopard-print bra? She wears those for Sid.
10:38 We notice Satan for the first time tonight. We had a roommate once who never missed an opportunity when confronted with the name “Satan” to crack herself up by saying, “I just want him to skate one shift with the Devils. Just one shift!!” Because, you know. Satan. Get it?
8:03 Engblom discusses the strong positional play of the Devils forwards and concludes “jokingly”, “Devils forwards use GPS. OnStar tells them to move 12 feet into the zone…” We are painfully reminded of the time we needed emergency assistance on the NJ Turnpike when our car spontaneously broke down in the middle lane. With traffic barreling all around us, we were informed that the OnStar operator could not call for help for us because we were within the jurisdiction of the NJ Turnpike authority. We imagine a Devils forward calling their little on-ice OnStar, “Oh my god! Get help! I’m defending a two-on-one” and the OnStar person saying, “I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do about that, but call back when you’re in a safe place. Although I can make reservations at a number of fine restaurants in Secaucus if you’d like…” (We can only hope the forward would then say the same thing Pookie did when confronted with this situation: “Yeah, we’ll call back. If we don’t die.“)
5:37 Robitaille comes very close to scoring off the rush. Now that we think about it, we don’t like when the Isles don’t just roll over for us.
4:24 Nice keep by Paulie. Not so putrid tonight… yet.
3:20 Pookie suddenly wonders aloud, “Are we triple-shfting Brylin?”
3:07 Some flow is creeping into the game, as the play is moving up and down the ice. This can’t be good for us.
2:02 Clarkson holds off 5 Islanders deep in the offensive zone during a change. We love this kid. (Pookie: “So far.”)
1:30 Trivia Question! Who else has shut out the Isles 3 times in a season? Pookie says Richter. Boomer says Hextall. Pookie also suggests someone weird like Muzzatti. We are not historians of the game.
Going into intermission, we love the “NHL” sculpted out of a giant heap of pucks. Boomer suggests Marty is saying, “Hey, Dunny. Those are my shutout pucks. Where are all of yours? They could maybe be made into an ellipsis.”
We choose not to listen to the deep, meaningful commentary Bill, Keith and Eddie have to offer. The volume control on tonight’s feed is too wonky, we’re too lazy, and frankly, the VS studio show sucks.
Lukowich is miked! I bet this is interesting. Or not. He goes on about how he was yelling at the forwards. I’m sure they love listening to him do that.
19:24 Engblom thinks the Isles need to do something about Gomer. He says he’s been having his way with a myriad of teams. Um… I’m sure his recent stats (no goals in his last zillion games, or thereabouts) will back that up.
18:39 Pookie surmises Paulie is studying Bryan Campbell game tape and will only do things that require spinning.
18:20 Great 3-man rush, ending with Dunny stoning Pando. PandoNation hates to admit, every other Devil would have scored there. Rasser’s nice pass was wasted.
17:10 Is VS going to tell us who took this penalty? Ah. Easy Breezy Parise.
14:40 Gomer makes an insane pass to Clarkson… but Campoli blocks the pass into his own net. We’ll take it. (Gomer’s contract year stats will, too. We don’t think this season has gone as he may have hoped.)
14:12 Engblom says this is how the Devils win games, that we will capitalize on mistakes. But in this case we didn’t have to, because the Islanders took care of putting it in the net for us.
13:26 Pando again can’t put it away after a nice 3-man rush, this time led by SHOCKING speed from Raffie. Where did that come from? Raffie, save some of your legs for the playoffs, man.
10:52 As if to make Schnookie look like an idiot, after she said he doesn’t look that great (“I mean, he’s stopping Pando. Ooh.”), Dunham makes an amazing save on a really nifty move by Patty.
10:18 The on-ice mikes are a bit, um, loud. Gomer deploys Sid Crosby’s favorite word after being called for offensive-zone hooking. We are always titillated to hear players cussing on the ice but somewhere in Ottawa Bryan Murray is sputtering with indignant rage.
10:05 Doc is begging the Hockey Gods to break up Marty’s shutout. We think there’s a point where they’re going to see through his ploy and NOT deliberately make Marty give one up. Unless that’s what he’s planning, at which point they’ll see through that….
9:40 Yashin scores from above the faceoff circle. Thank you EVER SO MUCH, Doc.
8:35 Zach seems to hate when we give up goals; no one on the Devils comes off the bench with as much zip after we get scored on as he does. Patty, Gomer and Clarkson follow up a strong ZZ shift with one of their own and Gomer draws a penalty in front. He owed the team, because we all know the Devils NEVER kill lazy offensive zone penalties like the one he took that cost us the Yashin goal.
8:25 Engblom thinks this power play is the game here. Schnookie thinks Engblom is full of it.
6:33 The Devils don’t seem to think this is the game here, either.
5:16 Chris Simpson tells us how Nolan showed the Isles Invincible on a bus ride to Philly. We doubt they liked it for the same reasons we did. (An example of why we liked that movie: when Marky Mark went back to the old sandlot for his old buds’ football game, we, as sports fans, yelled at the TV, “Stay in the car, Marky Mark! Don’t risk injuring yourself in a pickup game!” And then clouds opened, and the wheels started turning in our collective brain. Marky Mark + pouring rain + thin t-shirt? “Get out of the car, Marky Mark!” We shouted, “Be true to yourself and play slow-motion football in the rain with your friends!”) Chris tells us some pablum about how “Papale was the one who was inspired” after meeting the Islanders, which seems to Pookie to kind of suggest Nolan’s brilliant inspirational scheme didn’t work out the way he’d planned.
2:22 We can’t recall the last time the Devils showed this much jump going toward the net. Is it the Devils, or is it the Islanders?
Keith says that, of all the injuries we’ve had, it’s Madden’s offense the Devils miss most. Pookie immediately gurgles in disbelief, “Keith Jones just proved he hasn’t watched a Devils game in SEVEN YEARS.” We’re sorry, but what does the fact that Pando and Brylin haven’t scored with him out of the lineup prove? Pando and Brylin ARE NOT HIGH-SCORING PLAYERS. And furthermore, what is he saying when he comments we rely heavily on our checking line? We rely heavily on our checking line to check. Duh. We rely on our scoring line(s) to score. And dumb, freaky luck. But not our checking line. Perhaps Jonesy is the last remaining guy who’s counting on Madden’s promised 40-goal season.
Ryan Smyth is miked. They cut him off just before he says, “I also liked me better when I was here as Mike Peca.”
18:50 Doc, in a discussion of the high-scoring players in the Eastern Conference being from Europe, says Sid Crosby is from “just this side of Europe”. Engblom gets nervous. He’s thinking “I could have sworn he was Canadian… Does this mean I can’t like him anymore?”
17:02 Doc lets us know it is an anniversary of the day Sherry Ross became the first woman to ever call play-by-play for an NHL game. We like Sherry Ross, as she was the writer who coined the description of Sarge as “snack-sized”.
16:12 Devils go back on the PP. Oh no. Not our power play.
15:16 After bitterly declaring we have now seen the best of Clarkson (who failed to convert on some choppy plays), Clarkson figuratively screams at us, “‘He’s done’ this, bitches.” We appreciate that the Islanders D were listening to our totally well-reasoned scouting of him and opted to leave him alone in front of the net for that rebound (“Why didn’t we try to pick that guy up, Coach? Uhh… because we heard from a very reliable source that he’s done as a player?”). He has 3 goals now, which means he’s ably filled in for — and surpassed — Madden.
14:56 Pando fails to score on his 700th shot of this game. Pookie: “Dammit, if only Pando and Brylin had been able to bury that we might have a chance of winning.”
13:23 We just killed Dunny. Wade Dubieliwicz (a name we shall never type again) is now in, which means, per Pookie, “Crap. We’ll never score again.”
13:08 Wade D has an electrified Fisherman on his mask. Pookie: “It’s like if Stan Fischler was in Dr. Frankenstein’s machine!”
11:30 Pookie, after Sarge makes a nifty, smart little play in the neutral zone says, “He’s a snack-sized player with a buffet-sized heart.” Pause. “And you can quote me on that!”
8:18 Engblom doesn’t know why Kozlov didn’t make an obvious pass to Yashin. Pookie suggests, “Because it was Yashin. And Kozlov.”
6:21 Blake backhands a loose puck over Marty after some scrambling around the net. That sucked. We fall silent, still in mental training for the intensity of the playoffs.
5:50 Whitey looks content to stand behind the net with the puck for the next 5:50.
4:51 The wheels look for a second like they’re falling off again. Raffie turns the puck over in the defensive zone on a weird bounce off the glass, then Whitey struggles to get it out after a Sillinger shot misses.
4:00 Gomer and Patty throw some shots at Wade D. Why have we not tested him more than this?
3:57 Chris Simpson reports Dunny left the game with that middle-school-girl gym excuse: “cramps”. (Okay, she said “leg cramps”, but it’s the same thing.)
2:46 Travis mugs an attacking Islander. How was that not a penalty? Pookie suggests they each wrapped their arms around each other and agreed to fall over like a tree. Okay, that’s not in the rulebook, we don’t think.
2:09 The Trivia Question is revisited, but we have to watch the postgame for the answer. Frankly, we don’t care enough for that. Although Boomer declares it “cheap” that they don’t resolve it for us in-game. Muzzatti is declared the correct choice.
1:02 Patty and Gomer wheel in on a two-on-one, and Patty shoots wide. In previous Devs-Isles games this season, Patty would have buried that shot. Engblom seems mad that the missed shot didn’t give Gomer, on whom he has a massive man-crush, a chance at the rebound and chastises Patty for making a fundamental error.
:35 Empty net now for the Isles.
:10-ish Marty makes one last awesome save, paddling the puck away on a rebound.
For the first time in ages, the Devils looked, from top to bottom, really good. Pookie: “[Huge sigh of relief.] Well, that was unexpected.”