Oh dear lord. Some of us here had forgotten this game is on the network that shall not be named (C-SPAN2); and what unholy combination has the evil C-SPAN overlords put together for us tonight? Doc and Darryl Reaugh. This can’t go well.
And speaking of not going well, we’ve got the Devils in Montreal. For as long as we’ve been Devils fans, this matchup has been money in the bank. Marty took a special pride in breaking every hockey-loving heart in his hometown to the tune of something like 7 billion consecutive wins there, but the Canadiens have done the unthinkable and won the last two meetings with the Devils. We guess it just finally got to the point where Marty lost interest in them. C-SPAN2 gives us an interview with Marty and his many chins, and we don’t notice what he says because we’re laughing too hard at how snottily he chirps that he knows nothing about tending goal for the Habs because he’s never played for them.
20:00 Reaugh’s keys to the game are for the Devils to stay out of the penalty box and for the Habs to “cut down on shots against”. That shouldn’t be a problem for Montreal tonight.
18:35 After looking a bit scrambly in their own end for a couple of shifts, the Devils get what will likely be their only shot of this period, a laboriously-established point shot from Rachunek. Price is underwhelmed.
18:09 Who are the Habs fans booing? As Gio skates up the ice with Madden, they voice their displeasure. Pookie: “Are they booing the Devils in general, or is it Gionta?” Pause. “The Habs fans hate these cans!”
17:17 Doc mentions how the Devils don’t have morning skates, and Reaugh wins us over a bit by gushing, “That’s something 29 other teams should adopt!” He then points out, and probably aptly so, that teams probably only have morning skates so the coaches can feel like they’re doing something.
16:20 For the umpteenth time, a Devil makes a defensive stop on a shot attempt by the Canadiens, but then leaves the puck behind for another Montreal player to continue the attack. It seems like a tactic that will probably not lead to good things. But who are we to judge?
16:05 Pookie complains about the way the rink looks: “Okay, there is a light on at center ice, and it looks like the ice – ” Schnookie interrupts, “Has urine on it?” Pookie: “I was going to say, ‘is tie-dyed’, but now I won’t see it that way. Thanks.”
15:09 Marty has not brought his A game tonight – Smolinski, who has been a bit of a Marty Killer this season, beats him over the shoulder from a terrible angle. 1-0 Montreal.
14:32 Reaugh, discussing the scoring play: “I just love that play on that goal!” Pookie: “That makes one of us.”
13:22 One of the Titses (Schnookie: “I don’t know how to spell his name.” Pookie: “Just call him Tits.” Schnookie: “One of them is Big Tits and one of them is Little Tits and I don’t know which is which.” Pookie: “Just call him Medium Tits. We don’t notice these things. We’re chicks.”) and the Iron Boar jockey for position on a Montreal dump-in, and Medium Tits decides to whack the Iron Boar in the face for his trouble, drawing blood. Yay. Four minutes of Scorched Earth.
11:05 Langer cranks a big shot from the blue line, and Price kicks a huge rebound out into safe space in the face of the “rushing” Devils. Pookie: “Oh. If only there had been a Devil there.” Pause. “Of course there wasn’t, because the Devils suck.”
9:51 It should be mentioned that if Paulie Martin was playing, the Devils would be winning right now. Oh right, and Colin White. CSPAN-2 has not pointed out that the Devils are playing without their top two d-men this evening.
9:22 What a shocker – the Devils didn’t score on the PP.
8:52 Apparently Larry Robinson’s extended absence from the team due to the Worst Sinus Infection Ever is causing the team to forget how to handle the puck in their own zone. Once again the Canadiens set up in the Devils zone, and once again the Devils scamper around putting on a virtuoso demonstration of the Butterfingers Defensive Scheme.
8:08 Some Habby McHaberson holds the puck in his own zone, and the boos seem to rain down again. Pookie: “Are they booing their own guy?” Schnookie: “Maybe he’s got an “oo” name.” Pookie: “Meh. I can’t keep track of that. They’re all just ‘Tits’ to me.”
6:52 It looks for a moment like the Devils are going to gain possession of a loose puck in the neutral zone, but half of them peel off absently for a change. Schnookie: “What the hell was that?” The puck remains in no-man’s land, though, and suddenly Patty drifts into the picture, and looks like he’s about to carry it over the Montreal blue line, but at the last minute he lackadaisically pushes the puck off his stick and straight to a defender. Schnookie: “[Strangled, gargling sound]”
5:40 Doc and Reaugh are talking about Komisarek, and Reaugh concludes, “Carbonneau says he’s the kind of guy who likes pain. He likes to deliver big hits and he likes to block shots.” Schnookie: “That’s the recipe for longevity.”
4:51 The Habs mount a scary-looking rush that ends with a Devils defender digging clumsily in front of Marty, trying to flub the play but not even being competent enough to do that well. Pookie: “Who is that?” Pause. “Oh. Andy Greene. Never mind. That’s just standard for him.”
3:03 We are discussing how we have been shocked by how functional and entertaining the Doc/Reaugh pairing is. Boomer points out that, no matter how bad they might be, at least they’re not Pierre McGuire. We decide to make a point from here on out of appreciating everything bad in our lives that is, at very least, not Pierre McGuire. It’s something we probably take for granted too often.
1:32 With Patty offering up the soft Butterfingers puck pursuit at the blue line, the Habs put together a dazzling bit of tic-tac-toe passing in the Devils zone, and Koivu ends up with a wide-open net. 2-0 Montreal. C-SPAN2 cuts to the Devils bench, and Sutter looks especially like he’s sucking on a lemon.
0:49 Kovalev gets a bit too handsy with Zach behind the net, and gets called for it. The crowd boos, but really, are they concerned about the Devils power play?
0:20 Patty and Zach combine for a well-conceived tip play in front of the net, but Price holds fast as Zach and Langer hammer at the rebound. Reaugh mentions our intrepid heroes are “closing in on 20 shots”, and we are stunned. Price probably would be, too.
0:00 It’s after periods like this one that we sit back and wonder how on Earth the Devils managed to get to the top of the Eastern Conference standings.
If C-SPAN2 thinks we’re going to pay attention to their intermission show after the way they humiliated us with the Great Magnetic Playoff Tracker Board Fiasco of 2008, they’ve got another thing coming. (It should be noted that Boomer still thinks that every mail and UPS delivery to stately IPB Manor is going to be a playoff tracker. Every day she reports, “I got [X] in the mail today, but there was no playoff tracker.” Thanks, Boomer.)
Before the puck drops, Reaugh wins us over that much more by saying of Price’s butterfly, “If I’d known that all you have to do is drop down and stay in one place and let shots hit you, I’d have stayed in the league a lot longer.” BURN.
19:19 Applemotherfuckingsauce is going to lose his “motherfucking” if he keeps making passes out to the neutral zone from the PP point. (Meanwhile, Reaugh says the Devils need to work on sustaining pressure. Apparently he thinks the “one and done” approach to offense isn’t going to work. The Devils think, “But it’s gotten us this far.” We think, “Remind us again why we like this team?”)
17:53 We’ll be damned! Price uncorks a pass down three quarters of the rink, and it looks like he’s sprung a Montreal forward, but Greener manages to hold his ground while the Hab tries to turn the corner around him deep in the Devils zone. That will be his one good defensive play of this game.
17:26 As the Devils mill about along the boards in the Montreal zone, Pookie pipes up, “I feel like it’s been a hundred years since Clarkson last scored.” Clarkson does not respond accordingly.
17:12 Doc says of Vish-Dog, “He’s missed a few games lately… just because of numbers” (meaning how many d-men the Devils have). Pookie, oozing sarcasm: “Yeeeaaah… It’s just a numbers game, Vish-Dog. You’ve been doing great.”
16:19 Zach does his cannonball routine, diving to his stomach across the crease, and sweeping the puck back toward the net, but Price is currently playing out of his mind and is totally unflappable in the face of some honest-to-god offensive pressure.
16:13 After the first significantly good scoring-chance-generating shift by the Devils top line, Langer remembers himself and takes a tripping penalty in front of the Montreal net. We shouldn’t call him Captain Fuck This Shit. We should call him Captain Shithead.
14:13 Amazingly, the Devils PK holds fast in the face of the vaunted Montreal PP, although Kovalev did get a shot off at one point that made Pookie declare, “If Kovalev doesn’t get a hat trick tonight, I’ll eat my hat.”
12:33 Apparently the problem for the Devils tonight is that Price is “playing on a balloon”. Or so says Reaugh.
12:10 As the teams go up and down the rink directionlessly, Doc praises Price for not giving up second chances. Schnookie: “Of course, there are no Devils looking for second chances.”
10:53 Pando leads a listless rush after a Montreal turnover at the Devils blueline, and Reaugh points out that the Habs have now had back-to-back turnovers. He then cautions that teams can’t do that against the Devils, we guess because the Devils are supposedly opportunistic or something. Schnookie: “You’re thinking of the ’95 Devils, Razor.”
9:56 Patty has now completed his one good defensive play for the game, making a crazy, sprinting-back-into-the-play, backchecking strip of the puck from a Hab who is in the process of trying to unload a shot. We will not expect anything more like that from Patty tonight.
9:42 Doc and Reaugh are saying that the Devils are now playing “as if the next goal is mandatory.” Pookie: “The Devils are saying, ‘Au contraire. The next goal is strictly optional.’”
8:03 A Canadien misses a big slapshot, and the puck kicks hard off the boards, giving Pando a chance to wheel down the other way. C-SPAN2’s camera angle makes it hard for us to see whether he’s in one-on-one with a defender, but it doesn’t matter, because Pando pulls up hard and dishes off to Madden just inside the blue line. Price stops the shot easily, and then kicks an enormous rebound off to the non-Pandoed point, the whole sequence seeming to unfold in excruciating slow motion as not a single Devil demonstrates an interest in following up on the play.
5:47 We have no idea what is going on anymore, as there’s a tangle-up in Price’s goal mouth, where a Hab and Langer have wrestled each other to the ice, and the Devils have stopped skating, and CSPAN-2, despite the fact that there hasn’t been a whistle, has decided to cut in for a close-up so we can watch Langer whining to the official. Maybe we should call him Captain Benched.
5:40 C-SPAN2’s cameras decide to engage with the play again in time for us to see Lapierre finish on a two-on-one deep in close on Marty (and it could technically be considered a two-on-none, what with Greener being the hapless d-man back on the play). It’s 3-0 Montreal, and replay shows the whole thing happened because the Devils collectively decided that playing hockey is for losers. That was quite possibly the worst line change they’ve had all season.
4:30 Reaugh says the Devils are going to have to try to do something positive “and get something by Price before the end of this period.” Pookie: “Yeah, well, that’s not going to happen.”
1:55 We love when the Devils show up and play well on C-SPAN2 games. Which is why we’re not really loving this one.
0:00 Despite Reaugh telling us the Devils have had a sufficient work ethic tonight, we beg to differ. Pookie puts it best when she says the guys all look like they’re sort of trying hard, but figure they don’t need to do more than that because someone else will pick up the slack for them.
CSPAN-2 tries to cheer us up by talking about how the Devils are so great because of the kick-ass combination of Lou, Marty, and the organization’s top-to-bottom sense of accountability. Aww, thanks guys. That does help. Also, Engblom shouts about Paulie and Whitey being out tonight, reminding non-Devils fan viewers at home that, yes, New Jersey does have d-men who are better than Andy Greene.
Before the puck drops, it merits mention that if the Devils keep this up, we will lose our will to live.
19:32 Doc tells us the Devils outshot the Canadiens 13-4 in the second. Is this one of those “rock bottom” games?
19:27 Will to live… slipping… away… Zubrus apparently gets called for holding, but C-SPAN2 is too busy giving us a sideline report about something or other to show us the infraction.
17:27 There is never a moment on the Montreal PP where we fear especially for the Devils. That said, the game still sucks. Pookie stops her complaining for a moment to remind herself, “It’s not Pierre McGuire. It’s not Pierre McGuire. It’s not Pierre McGuire.”
16:35 Travis slowly carries the puck over the Montreal blue line (while on a line with Zach and Gio), and we find ourselves wondering when the hell was the last time he scored a goal. Like Clarkson earlier, Travis opts not to rise to the occasion.
14:59 Our trivia question tonight is “Which goalie has Kovalev scored the most goals against?” Considering his long-ago ability as a Marty Killer, we were ready to put money on it being Marty, but Doc coyly tells us the correct answer is a guy who is not in the building tonight. Schnookie: “I’m taking that the answer isn’t Marty as a moral victory tonight.”
14:03 Reaugh breaks the shocking news that the Devils have lousy timing going to the net. If we’d been given the job of doing color on this game (and how awesome would that have been?), we could have pointed out that the Devils have had, in the last 13 years, exactly one player who went to the net effectively, and that was Brian Gionta six years ago. The concept of “going to the net” is anathema to the forwards in this organization.
13:57 The sideline reporter guy brings us back from commercial with a report about Price’s feelings about Marty, and leads into it by wondering rhetorically whether Price was aware he was facing off against greatness tonight. Schnookie, acidly: “No. He has no idea who Marty is.”
12:03 As Doc and Reaugh take us on a trip down memory lane discussing Marty’s former backups (J.F. Damphousse, anyone?), they chortlingly conclude that there’s never been any trouble motivating Marty, so he doesn’t need someone pressuring him from the bench. Boomer: “Aren’t we forgetting the pressure he’s facing from below, from Jordy Parise?” We all enjoy our jolliest laugh of the night.
9:39 We realize there is still a game going on.
9:07 It’s a Youppi! sighting! Pookie: “I love that his number is an exclamation point.” Pause. “He wanted to wear 84 but it was taken.”
6:29 Doc is super excited because both the Titses are on the ice. He does not call either of them “Tits”.
5:52 Reaugh and Doc are commenting that the Habs seem to have this one under control now (Pookie: “Now?), and have strangled what hope the Devils might have had. We don’t think the Devils ever had hope in this one, but whatever.
4:33 Mottau tries to take a shot that gets deflected and flips toward Price, who has a little trouble gloving it. Reaugh remarks that it “gave him as much trouble as any of the previous 36 shots he’s faced.” As is typical of big shot-total shutout nights against the Devils, we can’t think of more than three good scoring chances they’ve had.
2:55 The Montreal fans are singing “Hey Hey Goodbye”. Which seems weird, considering it’s only March 11.
2:21 Something crappy happens in front of the net, and Ryder scores. 4-0 Montreal. Reaugh tells us, “This one puts it completely out of reach.” Boomer: “I think the second goal did.”
0:50 The fans but on a good show, rising to their feet and roaring for the entire final minute of the game.
0:00 Well that was barftastic. Thanks, Devils.