3:03 PM As much as we’re pleased that Shanahan is out of the line-up, it really does make us wonder about the effectiveness of shot-blocking. Is keeping Clemmer from facing four more shots from the blue line in one game worth taking yourself out of the entire next game?
3:06 PM What???? No Paulie???? NOOOOOOOOO! This game sucks.
3:10 PM WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! Before we even really have a chance to settle in and start paying attention, it’s 1-0 Devils. On the replay, Chico goes out of his way to tell us the goal wasn’t Claude Lemieux’s fault. Chico, guess who we don’t care about? Yeah, Claude Lemieux.
3:15 PM The shutout streak is over (probably as a result of the Hockey Gods snorting in disbelief at Pierre McGuire asking Doc during the earlier NBC game, “Do you think Marty’s going to get his job back?”), as Rob Blake (surely he died in Vegas) beats Clemmer on a long, stoppable, very-reminiscent-of-the-2001-SCF shot. 1-1 game.
3:21 PM WOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! Gio, Rolston, and Maddog get a nice little cycle going that ends with Rolston tapping one right through Nabokov’s five hole. This is not, we don’t think, what either team had drawn up for this game. 2-1 Devils.
3:23 PM Clearly Paulie is the straw the stirs the drink. The Pauile-less d-corps can’t handle Marleau who camps out, undefended, at the side of the goal to knock an easy PP goal behind Clemmer. That’d be 2-2.
3:29 PM Chico chuckles that the talking points for these two teams is usually the strong defense but sometimes the storylines change. Good thing NBC’s not broadcasting this one. Pierre’s head would explode. On second thought…
3:29 PM What in the wide, wide world of sports is going on here??? WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Clarkson, of recent “why is that guy still playing for us?” fame, gets the puck up high while Madden drives the net (?!? We know! Shocking!), then does a little Clarkaround/Clarknado combo move that involves building up a head of steam by skating a couple of circles around the puck, then spinning and firing it low into the corner of the net. It’s 3-2 Devils, and we’re not entirely sure Nabokov has realized yet that there’s a hockey game going on in front of him.
3:40 PM Chico tells us that he doesn’t see the craziness of this game disappearing at all as it goes on. We beg to differ. There’s an intermission coming up, during which both of these coaches are probably going to throw a clot. We eagerly anticipate the final two periods being a shut-down D-stravaganza.
That feature about the sculpture moving in at The Rawk is the coolest thing we’ve ever seen.
4:05 PM The Devils are in the midst of not scoring on a PP, and Schnookie suddenly shouts, “Oh my god. I have just had the most HORRIBLE thought. Obviously, Marty’s not going be the Devils’ MVP this season. If Clemmer wins it instead of Zach, I am going to kill somebody.” Pookie, calmly: “That won’t happen.” Pause. “Zach would burn down The Rawk if that happened.”
4:10 PM The Iron Boar skewers Travis’s eye with his stick blade. This game just got way less fun.
4:16 PM The team fund just got richer as Rolston wins the $1,000 Shanny had on the board for the first guy to take a stupid penalty that negated a PP. Zubrus shakes his head on the bench, because that slash was totally committed by him, but the officials tagged Rolston for it, probably because they looked at all the Devils on the ice and figured him as the guy most likely to do something stupid like that.
4:24 PM Langer takes a high stick in front of the Sharks net, and the Devils go back on the PP. Chico points out that, in Travis’s absence, the Poppers are being centered by Holik, and the line is staying out for the start of the power play. Boomer: “Well, that means the power play will be negated before too long.”
4:32 PM The Sharks get a great scoring chance, and Clemmer manages to make a groin-exploding post-to-post save that goes to review. It’s the old “the puck is probably in the net, but the goalie’s pads are over it” situation that always goes against the Devils, whether it’s Zubrus losing a goal on the play or the Ducks getting one, and for the first time that we can remember, the call goes the Devils way.
4:34 PM Far be it from the Devils to take advantage of a good break. Buoyed by the non-goal call, the Gio/Patty/Zubrus line puts together a good rush that ends catastrophically with Zubrus skating himself out of a scoring chance, and then Cheechoo ties the game at 3 heading up the other way and firing a mid-range shot that Andy Greene decides needs to be assisted with a little deflection action on its way toward the goal.
4:40 PM The Devils’ good luck is gone now, as they get called for back-to-back iffy penalties to go down two men. And with 12 seconds left in the period, Setoguchi makes it 4-3 Sharks. We start a “BULLSHIT!” chant in the living room of stately IPB Manor.
Dano spends this intermission frothing at the mouth about what a dumb waste of time the video review was of the non-goal by the Sharks, because in his opinion, the puck was kicked in in the first place and shouldn’t have counted anyway. Pookie: “And so begins Dano’s descent into Stan-dom.”
4:59 PM Chico Eats features Chico making cotton candy (or candy floss, to our Canadian friends). The only thing the segment was missing was Kevin Weeke’s porno music as Chico’s narration mentioned how the girl in the cotton candy booth was “good with her hands”, and “he didn’t know when to pull it out” but when he did “the shaft broke”. We wish we were making this up. That never happens when Gracie Sutter guest stars.
4:07 PM WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Sharks start off the third period in predictable “make-up” penalty trouble, and Zach is right on the doorstep on a 5-on-3 to motor his way to a bunch of rebounds and finally tap a pass from behind the goal line to Patty, who is waiting in the crease. Patty makes it a 4-4 game.
4:13 PM WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! On another PP (this one off a ticky-tacky hooking penalty by Setoguchi), Zach fires a huge shot from above the faceoff dots that Nabokov doesn’t handle well, and with the Sharks PKers being a bit unattentive, Langer streaks down the slot and fires the big rebound home. It’s 5-4 Devils, and Boomer cracks, “The officials just skated by the Devils bench and said, ‘Happy now?’”
4:20 PM Zubrus is carrying the puck in the neutral zone on the PP, and turns it over. Pavelski then carries into the zone against Rolston, and just as Schnookie is darkly muttering “Zubrus is not having a game to remember,” Clemmer gives Pavelski a huge hole between his arm and the goalpost on the short side, and it’s a 5-5 game.
4:30 PM WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Let us present “The Devils’ Sixth Goal: A Play In One Act”:
[The Devils pass the puck around the perimeter, and Rolston gets the puck up high but opts not to shoot and continues the passing.]
Schnookie: “God, Rolston, we pay you $5 million a year for your slapshot! What are you doing passing there?!?”
[Rolston gets the puck back and cranks an enormous slapshot that gets tipped by Clarkson through Nabokov and trickles into the net. 6-5 Devils.]
4:36 PM The final three minutes are just insanely fantastic. The Devils on the PK, the Sharks with the extra attacker, the crowd in full roar… Let’s just say that we both suddenly found ourselves in that “You know what’s awesome? Playoff hockey is awesome” state of mind. The frenzied seconds finally tick away on a 6-5 Devils win, and life is just sublimely good.