Devils 2, Senators 1 (SO)
We spent the better parts of our workdays today trying to glean some sort of viable explanation of Julien’s firing from the interwebs, and came up empty. And so we consoled ourselves going into tonight’s game with the knowledge that Lou works in mysterious ways, and at the very least he’ll take the blame for us losing all three remaining games (we are such the little optimists). The nervous, gnarled feelings in the pits of our stomachs dissolved considerably, though, while watching GameNight; our Devils are such pros at bizarre, late-season coaching changes! They all seemed relaxed, nonchalant, as if they’ve been through this countless times before. If they can be totally cool with it, so can we.
Resolved — and accepting that the crazily unexpected should always be expected with this goofy, nutball organization — we settled in for what we assumed was going to be a bloodbath. Excuse our surprise, but what a disappointment. Even Chico (Chico, people) was complaining about how boring this was before the midway point of the second period. We’d say it was as dull as watching chess, but we’ve noticed people who make those kinds of comments are looking forward to early summers (Schnookie: “Yeah, I said it!”). On the positive side, though, it was a delight to see the entire team behaving like a group of professionals in their defensive zone. Gone (for the most part) were those fourth and fifth failed attempts to clear the zone, the lackadaisical soft drop-passes to guys who aren’t where the passer thinks they are, and the extended shifts where it seemed as though our D was doing empirical research into how long various NHL offenses could cycle around a group of flat-footed opponents. This approach had been the Devils game plan for the last six weeks or so… and hey! We think we might have just figured out why Julien was fired! More specifically, Marty was the very picture of cool tonight, and FSNY took great pleasure in showing us how masterful his control of each and every rebound was. It sucks that his 47th win came in a shootout, but at least it went into extra frames (there is little in the world of sports more lame than the fact that the NHL awards an extra point in the standings for winning a three-round shootout), which gives it as much legitimacy as a shootout can get.