Devils 3, Bruins 1
That joyful screaming that could be heard across the Garden State and some of Eastern Pennsylvania today? That was PandoNation in full ululation. We would be commenting here about stuff like how good it was to have a very healthy-looking Gio back in the lineup (and scoring!), or how disturbed we were by the Devils spending the second period thinking the Bruins weren’t supposed to even be pretending to try (we think perhaps this penchant for defensive-zone turnovers might be something to work on before the playoffs commence), or how we felt this game looked like an encouraging sort of tune-up for the post-season, but frankly, the whole thing is a blur. The middle of this game was like a bland meatstuff, sandwiched by two moments of searing Pando brilliance. Interchangeable Parts (or more specifically, Schnookie) has spent many years, while attending home games in a Pando sweater, begging people not to laugh when we explained why he was our favorite player. During our dark years living 2500 miles away from our beloved boys, we eagerly sat behind the visitors bench for Devils games against the Coyotes proudly brandishing a home-made “Pando Is The Straw That Stirs The Drink” sign. We have watched with delight in the last few seasons as Pando’s dogged, humble, relentlessly reliable style of play converted more and more members of the local media, then the national media, to the ranks of PandoNation. And today Chico finally said what we’ve been thinking since that night in Detroit so long ago when Pando’s head exploded, Robbie Ftorek threw a bench, and the wheels of a championship run started turning: the man is a legend.