It’s a perfect Friday evening at stately IPB Manor, Gentle Reader – we’re having beer and artisanal cheese for dinner, we’ve got the Devils playing the Bruins on TV, we’re staring down the barrel of a holiday weekend… The only problem is that we made went into NYC today for a hectic tour of the Greek Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art while waiting on processing for business visas for some people in Schnookie’s office. So we’re exhausted. We are not as young as we used to be. We’re going to try to keep up with the game diarizing thing, but we make no promises. “Foot-weary after a day in the City” + “huge plate of cheese and bread” + “lots of beer” = sleepy Ookies.
Oh, and it needs to be mentioned, we go into the City for one day and we come back to find out that Chico’s been nominated for an Emmy???? What’s going on here? We adore Chico, but unless they have a category for charming rambling inanity, or kind-hearted shallow-thinking sports analysis, we’re not entirely sure what they’re thinking.
18:54 We start the game off with a Clemmer-riffic bang, where the D pairing decides not to pay much attention to a slow-moving puck in the far corner, so a mildly-forechecking Bruin kind of whiffs it toward the net, and Clemmer decides that he’s going to play it to a defender, but he either doesn’t communicate his intentions to them or they’re not listening, so what should have been a total non-event of a play turns into a great scoring chance for the Bruins.
17:04 The Devils get a succession of good chances, and then the big, slow, dumb fourth line takes the ice as Doc tells us Sutter’s line-matching. We sigh with disgust. We thought Pando lost his job because Sutter wasn’t doing that anymore.
16:07 Pookie: “If we lose tonight, I’m going to say we lost to the best team in the East. If we win, I’m just going to say that Boston clearly isn’t that good.”
15:42 Clarkson takes a page out of the Bruins’ book from the last meeting between these teams, and when Chara holds him up behind the Boston net, Clarkson goes down like a sack of potatoes. He draws the penalty in what is perhaps the first successful dive by a Devil all year, and it leaves a strangely bitter taste in everyone’s mouths, not least Doc’s and Chico’s. Sure, we all complain that the Devils don’t draw enough penalties because they never embellish, but as soon as they actually do it, we all kind of what our old “win with honor” team back.
13:42 If there is a lesson to be learned from that power play, it’s that more often than not, hockey justice prevails. (Although, to be fair, Chara was holding Clarkson. There just should have been an even-up call.)
9:54 It appears the Devils refuse to try to score on anything other than a cross-crease pass from deep in the corner. It would help in finishing that play if there was someone on the other side of the crease to receive the passes, but it looks like the Devils are honing their skills at making the pass before moving up to Step Two of the process.
8:57 After the teams swap icings and mill about for a while, the Devils D decides to see what would happen if they stop paying attention to what’s going on. Clemmensen scrambling is what happens. Pookie: “I’m not feeling very good about our chances tonight.”
6:15 The Devils weather a few more shifts of relentless (but still contained) pressure in their own zone, then, when they finally get the puck into the other end, Savard trips Paulie on the near boards. Now there’s a penalty with honor. Savard and Paulie jaw at each other a little bit, and Pookie declares she is going to heartily boo Savard every time he takes the ice from now on. Considering she still boos Marc Staal for injuring Paulie last year, Savard better believe her.
4:22 The PP sucks. Pookie: “I’m sensing a 0-0 final.” Schnookie and Boomer, in stunned unison: “You really think Clemmensen can shut out the Bruins.” Pookie: “Um… after the first. Let me finish my thought.”
3:20 Why is Clarkson still in the lineup?
0:50 Well, we know why Zach and Langer are in the lineup – MSG+ gives us a graphic informing us that there are only two games in the last 15 where neither of those guys scored. Um, not that the Devils are slowly returning to being a one-line team, though. *Pointed glare at the slumping secondary scorers*
0:00 This was not one of the world’s most exciting periods. We’ll chalk it up to being a feeling-out period, and adjust our expectations for run-and-gun awesomeness in the next two frames.
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MARTY!!!! MARTY!!!! MARTY!!!!!
We come back from intermission to see Chuck the Duck standing outside The Rawk holding a heart-shaped box of chocolates and wearing a pinstriped three-piece suit. Chico: “Chuck is wearing those pinstripes because they make him look taller.” Okay, he totally deserves an Emmy.
17:40 It’s probably fair to say that Clemmer has been completely hung out to dry on this shift. Just further feeding his Plankton ambitions, we’re sure.
17:09 Patty hooks Chara in the offensive zone. Chara goes down like Clarkson. Because life is inherently fair, Patty gets the only penalty on the play. Meanwhile, Pookie is floating a theory that the team plays better after MSG+ shows us Chuck the Duck: “He’s the straw that stirs the drink.” Schnookie: “No one’s stirring much of anything yet in this one.” Pookie: “Right now all the guys are just standing around a Capri Sun, listlessly poking at the straw.”
16:01 Langer chips the puck out of the defensive zone to send Travis down the wing shorthanded, and Travis, with Chara defending him, totally fakes the Bruins into thinking he doesn’t see Paulie joining him on a wide-spread two-on-one, then laces a lovely, soft pass to spring Paulie on a mini-break. Paulie, as we all know, has no finish. But we swoon anyway.
11:03 Hm. We’ve not been paying very close attention the last few minutes. In case you’re reading this to know what actually happened, no one scored.
10:12 Schnookie really hopes she just misheard Chico – the Devils have a whopping NINE shots so far in this game. Gotta love when you play in a measuring-stick type of game and measure up very poorly.
9:02 WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA????? WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! Pookie has had a terrible case of the hiccups for the last few minutes, and declared just moments ago, “I need the Devils to score here, to startle my hiccups out of me.” Madden wins an offensive-zone draw completely cleanly, passes back to the Iron Boar at the high point, and the Iron Boar just whips a long shot through Thomas. Pookie: “Consider me shocked!” And, no joke – her hiccups are gone.
3:04 Holy crap. Clemmer is clearly feeling the heat from Marty, and is totally saving the Devils’ bacon tonight. After breakdown after breakdown in the defensive zone, Clemmer coughs a huge, juicy rebound up the crease, and then makes a crazy, miracle save on the kicked-in shot from the onrushing Bruin.
0:00 That period was WAY cooler than the first!
Dano shows off a valentine he got from a six-year-old. Have we mentioned lately that we love Devils games on TV?
We start the period off with “Chico Eats!” and in this episode, Chico enjoys some meatloaf from the concourse at The Rawk. In the feature, he demonstrates how you can take the meatloaf to your seats, and, in so doing, takes someone else’s seat and has to be ragged further down the row. Well played, “Chico Eats!”, well played.
16:12 We have settled into a quiet contemplation of the game, which is now in its “desperate chess match” phase. We are jolted out of our stupors briefly thanks to an amazing diving backchecking play by Oduya to shut down a breakaway.
15:28 It seems Shanahan’s not into the idea of playing intelligent defensive hockey with a 1-0 third period lead, as he takes a penalty for a dumb clearing attempt that goes over the glass behind the benches.
14:11 Travis dogs a Bruin in the Boston zone while killing the penalty, and Pookie says softly, as the chase plays out, “Travis is hunting the most dangerous game.”
11:23 Uh oh. MSG+ gives us a graphic telling us how long it’s been since Clemmer’s given up a goal. If the Bruins can’t score now that MSG+ is playing the mojo like that, they’re stupid.
7:47 This is some good, old-fashioned, super-fun defense-first hockey. It feels like old times. And doesn’t lend itself well to commentary.
4:58 Patty is so fired. Shanny actually has a good block of a shot attempt from the Bruins point, then carries the puck up the wing and opts to go for the criss-cross play with Patty rather than going to the net. And Patty partially fans on his shot, then meanders lamely off out of the play. Sigh.
2:36 We discuss what, exactly, has been the defining characteristic of this game to date, and we conclude that the best description of it would probably be “cerebral”. If you like your hockey brainy, this was the game for you.
0:47 Okay, here’s trouble – the Bruins have pulled Thomas.
0:00 HOLY CRAP! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!! And the hell???? Clemmer with back-to-back shutouts? Dogs and cats living together! We may have been underselling this game at the outset, but now that it’s a 1-0 win, we’re going to say that the Bruins really are that good. Heh.