Watch this space for some woolgathering thoughts on tonight’s post-Christmas match-up. In the meantime, please enjoy an open thread!
7:00 PM The game opens with Doc’s voiceover about the previous matchup between the Pens and Devils, and Doc sounds like death warmed over. Poor guy.
7:08 PM The Penguins get a rush going in the midst of a line change, and as the camera pans down into the Devils zone, we see the Pens are on a two-on-none because Paulie is sliding on his caboose into the crease, all ready to bowl over Clemmer. Fortunately, the Pens on the play are as bumbling as Paulie, and fail to capitalize. Doc and Chico literally just crack up in response as we watch the replay of Paulie pratfalling around, and Pookie decides the only explanation is that Paulie’s point-shaving tonight.
7:10 PM Doc sounds so terribly ill that Pookie suggests, “I’d like to figure out a way to remaster this recording of his call to say, ‘I’m sorry [Pookie's boss], but I’m not able to come to work today.’”
7:15 PM A freshly-shorn Zach gets called for goaltender interference. Boomer is only barely paying attention to the play, and sums up pretty well how dumb a penalty it is by asking, “Was that Blobby?”
7:20 PM The Pens don’t get a shot on the power play, and would have given up a shorthanded rush if Madden wasn’t so impossibly slow. Schnookie: “I think Madden still looks sick/hurt.” Pookie: “I think he’s point shaving, too.”
7:25 PM Applesauce is such a dirty player! He can openers Talbot, rightly getting two for tripping (Cooke manages to pick up a responding ten-minute misconduct during the ensuing commercial break), but all the penalty leads to is some kick-ass PK, particularly by Travis and Pando.
7:33 PM Tonight’s Geico Quote of the Game is Therrien saying “We better wake up soon or else…” This is followed by a chorus in our living of “… Or I’ll lose my job!” Chico suggests the “or else” refers to missing the playoffs.
7:36 PM Schnookie suggests another possible explanation for Paulie’s poor skating this evening — he got new rollerblades and is wearing them instead of skates. It’s either point shaving or rollerblades; there are no other explanations.
7:37 PM Travis misses a wiiiide-open net thanks to some pressuring from Malkin. Chico says Travis will be talking to himself about that one. We think he probably talks to himself to look busy so he can get out of the intermission meetings of “Shot Club”.
7:45 PM HOLY CRAP! The intermission show gives us a look at a picture of wee baby Dano, when he was, like, 20. Our minds are blown.
7:56 PM Chico and Doc spend a good amount of the beginning of the third period talking about where Grand Rapids, MN is. We are constantly impressed with Chico’s encyclopedic knowledge of geography west of the Mississippi, and the hockey players who have come from there.
7:58 PM The Devils go on the PP and we are informed that the Pens PK is catastrophically awful. Great, so we can be that much more depressed when the Devils don’t score. (Meanwhile, Doc’s gravelly voice prompts Pookie to remark, “This sounds like if Ursula the Sea Witch was calling the game.”)
8:00 PM It is a rare game where the color guy is musing aloud, “I can’t tell whether the power plays are this bad, or the penalty kills are this good.”
8:07 PM Doc and Chico are hopelessly bored right now, and Doc’s too sick to bother pretending otherwise.
8:15 PM The boredom is broken by Fedotenko firing a puck softly through Clemmer, making it 1-0 Penguins. Okay, we’re totally lying when we say the boredom is broken. The boredom is just made more excruciating. Doc almost immediately mistakenly refers to the Pens as the Islanders, and Pookie says, “That’s right. It is as bad as an Islanders game.”
8:20 PM Pando draws a penalty, then the Devils proceed to give up a series of short-handed rushes. Pookie: “I’m reaching the point in this game where I’m just hoping no one except Clemmensen gets hurt.” Long pause. “Just kidding.”
There is, at the end of the penalty, a pile-up in front of the Penguin goal, and it looks like the puck has crept all but an eensy-weensy bit over the goal line before being kicked out by Eaton. Promptly thereafter, Gio takes a tripping penalty. Oof.
8:45 PM The third period is kicked off with a “Chico Eats!” in which Chico makes funnel cake. In dusting the cake with powdered sugar, Chico does his “LeBron James move” of dusting his hands and then tossing the powder into the air. Chico says, “I have no idea why he does that, but I did it because I got to like my fingers afterwards!” Doc’s response: “Good luck to us all.”
8:46 PM Langer is fired a thousand times over, for being the culprit on the third time this game (second for him) where a Devil has had the puck right in front of a wide-open net and not being able to score. We are getting very strong “the Devils are getting shut out again tonight” vibes. Because who doesn’t want to go into a game with the Rangers riding a two-game, team-wide scoreless streak?
8:53 PM Paulie is living in a vortex of putridity these days, and a few minutes after getting tripped by Malkin while skating through the neutral zone with the puck but not drawing a call, he gets sent to the box himself when a Pen goes down easy after a soft, high cross-check. Pookie: “If I were Paulie I would refuse to believe in any kind of justice in the world. So I’d go on a giant crime spree, knowing I’d never get caught.”
8:56 PM There is a merciful god! After going to commercial midway through the third, we come back to find that croaky, miserable Doc has been replaced by Steve. We never thought we’d see the day where we’d actually want to hear Steve instead of Doc. All of a sudden the game feels like it’s got tons more jump. (It might be because Patty, Gio and Zach manage a very feisty shift, as if they were waiting for Doc to leave because they didn’t want to tax him.)
8:59 PM Sutter’s changing up his lines and Steve can’t handle it. Langer and Travis are out with Zubrus, and the hybrid beast “Zabrus” makes his first appearance. Meanwhile, Langer, being the totally awesome captain that he is, takes an outrageously awful tripping penalty in front of Fleury’s net. We hope the Devils are riding the bikes after this game.
9:13 PM It is an interesting statement about how shittily the Devils are playing offensively that Chico can’t, when asked by Steve, give credit to either Thomas in the last game or Fleury in this one for being especially good in these shutouts.
9:15 PM We get a brief moment of comedy as Whitney commits a “playing the puck with a broken stick” penalty of such hilarious idiocy that if Doc were still calling this one, he’d describe it as “Hartnellian”.
9:16 PM Our moment of levity comes to a crashing end when Gio takes a boneheaded slashing penalty in front of the net while the Devils are setting up their six-on-four, empty-net, final-minute stand. Have we mentioned that we hope the Devils will be riding the bikes tonight?
9:19 PM The game ends 1-0. Every hockey season is paced like the tides, and it would seem the Devils are currently experiencing this: