The 50th in our 118-part series.
Anticipating Big Match-ups
The Devils, thanks to geography and years of going relatively deep in the playoffs, have more than their fair share of big rivalries. Every game against the Rangers,Flyers , Islanders and Leafs has the potential to be a hard-fought, high intensity, “get you up off the couch to yell and scream at yourtv just because of past history” game. Of course, most games against these teams are boring affairs with no hitting, few big saves and a win settled in an anti-climactic shoot-out. Moreover, the unbalanced schedule has soured us on these match-ups just from making the events so commonplace. That said, it’s still fun to get worked up about a game, even when you know it’s going to have as much intensity as a mid-December match-up against non-conference team. Who doesn’t love looking at the schedule and thinking, “Woo-hoo, the Flyers come into to town tonight! I have a reason to survive the work-day!” Who doesn’t mentally circle the Leafs games and start imagining Stevens coming out of retirement for that one game only to smack that stupid look off Darcy Tucker’s face? And who doesn’t, when trying to use up extra vacation days, take a day off just because the Devils are playing the Rangers? No matter how unbalanced the schedule gets, the fact remains that on paper “Devils vs. Rangers” looks like it should be a holiday, where everyone takes off from work to relive past rivalry glories. And no matter howcraptacular the games between the two teams are, we will never stop anticipating big match-ups.