We’re sorry to say it, Gentle Reader, but there will be no game diary tonight, as we are doing things like “enjoying a nice dinner” during this game. Please enjoy an open comment thread, and we have hopes of composing some thoughts about the match during intermissions, but make no promises.
After the first period (which, admittedly, half of us didn’t see very much of because we were caramelizing pounds and pounds of onions), we are cautiously optimistic. A goal? From just putting the puck on net? That’s shocking! After that tentative first power play, where the Devils looked like they were thinking Emery is of the Luongo ilk of goalie, we expected far worse. Pookie is armed with some good hockey platitudes for this opening frame, though: “I thought they played a good road period. Took the crowd outta the game.” Damn straight. Now let’s see 100% of them give 110%, and put the cat in the hat, and it should all be smooth sailing from here out.
We’re breathing into paper bags here after what was probably one of the most exciting periods of hockey the Devils have been involved in all season. Holy crap. That was insane. How could we not love how swaggery and awesome the Devils looked gaining a 3-0 lead? And even when the Senators had the better of the play in the second half of the period, we liked three things about that:
1. The play opened up and was just wild, end-to-end action.
2. The Devils at least looked puck hungry, if not totally in control. Even though they had prolonged possession and pressure in the Jersey zone, the Senators did not have a lot of opportunities to make plays cleanly because Devil players were getting to most pucks.
3. Marty has been out of his mind. Except, uh, for that goal. Which Chico has absolutely no business blaming on Rachunek — if Marty mishandles the puck behind his net, just say Marty mishandled the puck behind his net, Chico. We all have eyes.
Last time these teams played they combined for 29 shots in the second, then managed just one shot in the first five minutes of the third period. We hope that doesn’t happen again tonight. Unless, of course, the alternative is the Senators coming out and tying things up quickly. If that’s our other option, we’ll take the one-shot-in-five-minutes thing, thanks.
Okay, so the Devils looked like they were doing the whole “let’s sit back and enjoy this lead” thing, but that’s probably the three glasses of wine and our general, overriding negativity talking. The fact is that Ottawa remembered how to play hockey and came hard at the Devils starting at about the midway point of the second period. And while we would have liked to see our boys looking a hair more interested in adding to their lead, the fact is that they did an admirable job of bending but not breaking. To keep with the hockey platitude theme. And tonight gave us yet another look at why Marty Brodeur, even with all the praise he gets, is still underrated by many (and you know who you are…). If anyone is ever looking for a 60-minute chunk of hockey to demonstrate what’s so entertaining about this sport, we’d nominate this game. Thanks, Devils and Senators, for playing a real barnburner tonight, and thanks even more, Devils, for winning it. WOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!