We can tell this game is going to be a doozy because Doc and Chico lead into it with a whole feature on Marty and Luongo, just, we guess, to point out that neither of those guys is playing tonight. The other part of the intro is about Mats, of course, and it really doesn’t need to be said that he looks so strange in a Canucks uni.
19:29 Just thirty seconds in, Zach has made it clear he doesn’t want to be benched again, what with a hit and a shot.
19:16 Dammit! Why couldn’t this have happened during the Pens-Flyers game we were suffering through earlier? Our sound cuts out, and we lose Doc and Chico. If only we could have been spared Steigy and Errey going on for an entire game about how the Penguins, just today, have invented trapping. Sorry, no, invented the “1-2-2”.
18:55 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Clarkson misses on a Clarkaround after some miscommunication by the Canucks behind their net (Pookie: “LaBarbera looked like one of those fainting goats there.”), but Rollie is there in the high slot to slap home the long rebound. 1-0 Devils.
17:15 Chico and Doc are discussing how Vancouver is running out of money for the Olympics, and Doc suggests the city should tap Chico for some extra dough. Chico responds that he could he could help them out with “a step. One step in one building.” Have we mentioned how much we love Chico?
16:31 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! Zach and Travis chug down the ice on a two-on-one, and Pookie, as Zach, gasps, “I don’t want to be benched!” He feeds the puck across the zone to Travis, who gets LaBarbera stumbling with a close-range shot, and then Zach is there crashing the net to put home the rebound. It’s 2-0 Devils, and we have a new Canucks goalie. This is not at all what we were expecting to see tonight.
14:44 Sanford is clearly a more formidable opponent than LaBarbera, as he stops the first shot he faces. Bummer.
11:36 We come back from commercial to see a replay of the rush that led to Zach’s goal, and Chico highlights Langer’s great pass to get it all started. Then he tells us for the gajillionth time that Blobby Holik once chided them for celebrating goal scoring too much and ignoring the other things. Gee, if only they would mention that more often. It’s so interesting. No, wait… what’s the opposite of that?
10:01 While facing some offensive pressure from the Canucks, the Devils get a chance to clear the puck and hit the linesman instead. And the linesman actually exclaims, loud enough to hear on the regular game feed, “Ow!”
9:25 Mats tries to carry the puck with speed into the Devils zone while going one-on-one against Whitey, but as he crosses the blue line he just falls over and turns over the puck. Pookie: “Once a Maple Leaf, always a Maple Leaf – afraid of Colin White.”
9:05 As play wheels madly up and down the ice, Doc describes some good Vancouver defense against a rushing Clarkson: “He was on him like a cheap date!” Pause, then embarrassed horror at what he just said, then: “Somebody, quick! Call time!”
8:53 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The hell? It’s Mr. Hyde Night for the Devils! Sanford picks up right where LaBarbera left off, misplaying the puck behind his own net (he omits the fainting goat part, sadly) to turn it over to Zubrus, and Zubrus hands off to an unusually spry Gio. Gio then darts out to the front and jams the puck into the net while the Vancouver D looks on dispiritedly. 3-0 Devils.
7:15 Our Geico Quotebook is Vigneault talking about how Mats still has a long way to go before getting into game shape. Chico then walks us through a replay of Mats falling over while trying to beat Whitey, and he chortles about how he’s totally missing his feet still. “Laugh all you want,” he says, while laughing copiously, “But in 7 or 8 games, when he gets his feet under him, he’ll be burning a lot of teams.” Pookie: “Laugh all you want, but in 3 or 4 games we’re going to be saying all that bad shit about Shanahan.”
5:01 There is appropriately derisive applause from the Canucks fans when one of their guys dumps a shot in from center ice that Clemmer has to scoop up in his glove. We realize they’re being snide about their own team’s shitty performance to date, but we just feel like that kind of cheer is in order whenever Clemmer plays the puck. (He promptly misplays the puck and attempts to turn a dump-in from center ice into a scoring chance.)
3:55 After telling us the Canucks are skating like they’re walking through quicksand, Chico suddenly blurts, “I shouldn’t say that. I’ve never been in quicksand. Have you ever been in quicksand, Doc?” Doc, very slowly: “No. Not many live to tell about it.” Chico, thoughtfully: “I need to come up with something else, because no one can relate to walking in quicksand.”
1:00 The Canucks fans roar when the final minute in the period is announced. It’s not been a good 19 minutes for them.
0:00 Well! It’s been a long time since we’ve seen something like that from the Devils! We get an interview with Rolston, and he’s all winks. Seriously. He can’t stop winking. Pookie wonders if he maybe has some kind of eye problem.
We get some feature with Steve interviewing Luongo. Whatever. You know what would rock? If we got some behind-the-scenes footage of the Devils on their road trip. But we’re not holding our breath for that.
18:20 We hate it when one team dominates another for a period, and then in the next one the other team is all calmed down and not sucking so badly.
15:41 This period is way less interesting than the first. Rupper takes a holding penalty in the offensive zone, and Chico tells us it was just “his anxiety to stop the Canuck”. Suuuure.
13:41 Okay, that was a good PK. It even drew a few scattered boos. Although it’s starting to sound like the Canucks fans are losing their will to boo. Excellent!
13:06 Wait, no, the boobirds are back. O’Brien grazes Zach’s chin with his stick and Zach goes down like his head has just been ripped off; he gets a minor for high sticking called on the infraction, and goes to the bench grumbling something about turtles-of-affairs that are too good with the pre-game straight-razor shave, and how a less adroit valet might have given him a cut that could draw an extra minor here. Up in the turtles-of-affairs box, Boxworthy bristles and orders another gimlet.
11:37 Andy Greene is so the younger, cheaper Rafalski! Chasing the puck out of the Canucks zone in the waning moments of the PP, he trips a Vancouver player and gets called for it. Up in the turtles-of-affairs box, Bubblesworthy sighs and orders another gimlet.
9:55 Clemmer makes a save, but doesn’t get to handle the rebound as cleanly as he might have hoped. Chico explains that he wanted to kick the puck out, and Pookie snaps, “Scott Clemmensen wants to do a lot of things and can’t.” Schnookie: “Yeah. He wants to go home and admire his three Stanley Cup rings.”
8:59 Clemmer wanted to have shutout. Burrows benefits from some weak backchecking on the rush and a big, fat rebound from Clemmer, and makes it 3-1 Devils.
6:23 Can we have LaBarbera back? The Devils get a flurry of close-range, not-really-that-great shots, but unlike when LaBarbera was in net, they don’t go in.
3:26 We are so excited for this period to end, not because it’s going badly, but because we’re going to get an interview with Clarkson’s parents during intermission. Last year we got an interview with Egg Pelley’s parents when the Devils were in Vancouver, and it was totally adorable. MSG+ should give us lots of Devil-parents interviews, as long as they don’t include JP Parise.
2:20 It seems the Devils also want to get into the room to catch that interview, because they’ve totally stopped playing. Clemmer’s the only one left still paying attention to the game.
0:00 Finally, the clock strikes zero and the horn blows. Pookie sighs with relief and says, “Well, we’ve seen worse second periods.” Our interview is with a not-at-all-winky Gio.
Clarkson’s parents are adorable, as expected, even in the face of Steve turning their interview into a panel show discussing the pros and cons of fighting in hockey. His mum says her only concern about him fighting is that he always takes on the bigger guys, and his dad mentions that Clarkson grew up “since he was about seven years old” cheering for Mats as a Leaf, so tonight is special for him to be playing against His Baldiness. Then, to rub it in to the old, old guys still hanging on in the league, he offers up that Clarkson also attended Shanny’s hockey camp as a youngster, and has autographed sticks from the experience back home. We love the thought of young urchin Clarkson getting Mats’s autograph at Maple Leaf Gardens and Shanny’s at little-kid hockey camp, and then chewing the guy’s ear off about what the experience of getting that autograph was like.
Before the puck drops, we get a long look at Rolston and Clarkson having an animated conversation on the bench. We have the TV muted still (and the zapper’s at the other end of the couch! Shut up! It’s a long way to walk!), so we can only assume they are talking about being pretty.
18:56 Doc is delighted to inform us that Wellwood hasn’t taken a single minor penalty in the last two and a half years. He frames it, of course, with a discussion of how few penalties Pando takes.
16:46 Paulie blocks a shot with his shinpads, and Chico tells us that he “was grimacing” while paying a painful price for stopping a sure goal. (He then adds that maybe — maybe — he wasn’t actually grimacing.) Schnookie: “He wasn’t grimacing. He was saying, ‘Ahhhh! That feels good.’ Because he likes to psych out his opponents.”
15:41 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! It looks like the Canucks are getting their shit really together, including ringing a good shot off the goalpost, but then they get caught on a bad change heading back up the ice, and the Poppers are off to the three-on-two races. Langer and Travis play catch on the fly, and then Travis rips a pretty wrister past Sanford. 4-1 Devils.
14:40 Clarkson brings shame to his parents by bowling with a bit too much gusto into Sanford while not paying any attention to where he is on the ice. The Canucks go back on the power play.
12:20 The Canucks don’t score on the PP. Perhaps in part because their play prompts Chico to say, “With all due respect to the Canucks’ second-unit power play, there’s quite a drop-off from the first one.”
7:42 Just when we both admit out loud that we’re not paying attention anymore, Demitra jolts us back to the game by scoring on a rebound from a hard shot from the blue line by Mats. 4-2 Devils.
6:13 Doc says, of Paulie, “I hope we never take Paul for granted.” No worries about that here in PaulieMartinNation!
5:24 Patty gets called for hooking one of the Sedins, and Chico says it’s “the curvature of the stick getting stuck in the armpit.” Also known as “hooking”. (Sedin also gets tagged for diving.)
2:41 Fucking Clemmensen. Nothing much is going on at all as he hands the puck off to Zubrus, then Zubrus is pressured to give up the puck at the near boards just above the goal line, Bernier jumps on it, wheels and rips a shot ,and Clemmer is busy pulling petals off daisies or something in the crease, so he’s not in any kind of shape to even be thinking about stopping the shot. It’s 4-3 Devils.
1:33 The Canucks get the extra attacker on, even though they were already getting relentless pressure around the Devils crease.
0:45 There has never been a worse team than the Sutter Devils at scoring into empty nets. Never. Not in the entire history of organized hockey, let alone the NHL.
0:38 WOOOOOO!!! And yes, the ONLY way the Devils can score into an empty net is to have the other team shoot it in for them. Zubrus gets credit for it when his bad-angle shot from the far boards gets double-deflected by Canucks defensemen. 5-3 Devils.
0:00 That was certainly a better game than we’ve been treated to lately by the Devils. Maybe they’ve turned a corner? HAHAHAHAHA! We’ll just have to see about that.