When the schedule was released back in July, we immediately put our heads together with Patty (Still In Dallas Back Then) to find the perfect October week to come here to see a Devils game in person and enjoy all the wonders that New Jersey has to offer. We targeted this week for one specific reason: we could use Patty as our excuse for not writing a game diary for this game (or even watching it very closely. Or at all). But we kept that to ourselves and just pretended instead that this was the best week to visit for reasons like “foliage” and “whatever”. So imagine our horror when Patty showed up, we assessed our hockey television schedule for the week, and she exclaimed with delight about tonight’s game, “Ooh! Are y’all goin’ to do a dang-tootin’ diary that night, so I kin see it all in-person-like? Yee haw!” (She may or may not talk like that in person.) And we groaned and pulled our hair and rent our garments and made a huge fuss, but in the end hospitality won out, and we agreed to diarize while she was here. She is under express orders to bring some hilarity, to make our jobs easier.
Meanwhile, making our jobs decidedly NOT easier, Devils fans are once again getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop, and are stuck watching in miserable, loathsome standard def. And our intro to tonight’s game includes Doc putting a hex on Travis by talking all about how he’s only missed two games in his career. Pookie: “Ten bucks says he goes down with a terrible injury in this game.” Schnookie: “No bet.”
We get a “Poll Question Of The Night” that asks which player we like most to watch. Our options are Malkin, Kovalchuk, Ovechkin and Crosby. Pookie: “Wow. They don’t even include Zach as an option. That’s how crappy his start has been this season.” Pause. “They also don’t have Marty on there. And the big story tonight is that he could catch Sawchuk if he gets a shutout tonight. Nice.”
19:37 The lines are stupid again tonight. We’re not going to dignify them with a response. Oh, and as the game starts, Pookie observes that they can put those “fancy” digital ads on the glass, but they can’t give us HD. Patty: “What is this? 2008?”
18:23 Putrid Paulie is dressed tonight, instead of Perfect Paulie. Marty makes a stop on the first Devils shot of the night, from Gaborik, and Paulie skates up to the well-directed rebound, makes like he wants to clear it, but instead flubs it and leaves it in the slot. PaulieMartinNation is deeply ashamed.
15:13 Some nice work on the near boards turns into the possibility of Zach getting a shot from the high slot, but he’s all spaced out and unresponsive to the incoming pass, and basically the whole thing just falls apart into a huge pile of poop. Pookie: “If Zach wasn’t having that Hooters Baby, we’d be up by a goal right now.”
14:30 Avery and Applesauce fight.
13:46 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Zach says, “Hooters Baby THIS!” as he sneaks behind all the Rangers to be the end recipient of a fantastic passing sequence (started by Perfect Paulie), gets in on the Prawn on a short breakaway, and scores with a sublime economy of motion. 1-0 Devils, and Pookie’s not sorry she accused Zach of having a Hooters Baby. We’re beginning to suspect he’s the new Patty Elias, in that we have to be constantly complaining about him in order for him not to suck.
12:15 The scorched-earth PP gets a chance to show off its stink lines when some Ranger trips a guy.
10:15 AIEEE!! The stink lines! They burn our eyes!
6:35 Gilroy attempts a point shot, and Boomer cracks, “Oooh, Gilroy. I can’t believe that didn’t go in.” Pookie adds, “I can’t believe the puck didn’t just ascend to heaven in a fiery chariot.” Patty: “He was doing that a lot but they finally had to ask him to stop because they were running out of pucks.”
4:46 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO WAY! We thought all Bergfors knew how to do was skate behind the net and fall over. But it turns out he can also beautifully tip a Clarkson shot/pass over the Prawn’s shoulder to make it 2-0 Devils. When he grins in celebration, Patty coos, “Aww. He hasn’t even grown into his adult teeth yet!”
0:47 Marty has to scramble to make a great goal-line stand because Paulie sets Langer up to be the outlet pass guy after offensive pressure from the Rangers, and Langer decides, after assessing all of his options, to feed a perfect pass to a streaking Blueshirt just inside the center of the blue line. There are no Devils anywhere around him. It’s hard to figure what prompted that play, if you discard out of hand the notion that Langer is on the Rangers payroll. And that’s not a notion we’re discarding out of hand. Just sayin’.
0:00 Well, we’ve certainly seen worse periods between these teams!
18:54 Chico is blathering on about how the Rangers are leading the league in goals by d-men, and how the Devils need more offense from the blue line, and then something about how the Bergfors goal is the first deflection goal for the Devils this season, and then he spends a lot of time trying to extricate himself from the facts of the Bergfors goal. Namely, that the deflection was on a Clarkson shot, and Clarkson is not a d-man. Facts and Chico are not good friends.
18:19 Applesauce spears an on-charging Ranger in the face while trying to avoid being hit, and Chico starts to complain that all he saw was Applesauce getting hit, and now he’s the one going to the penalty box. A perfect, slow-mo replay showing the Ranger’s head being skewered by Applesauce’s stick forces Chico to trail off a bit, and Pookie challenges him, “Just try to tell me that shouldn’t be a penalty, Chico.”
18:10 The PK is a brief and unsuccessful one. A long point shot through a thicket of players makes the game 2-1 Devils.
13:45 The Iron Boar looks gimpy after being forced to block a shot on a dreadfully putrid Putrid Paulie turnover in front of the Devils net. And then Putrid Paulie splays on the ice, swirling like a fallen windmill, as Gilroy (the Golden God) skates easily around him. Marty stops the play in its tracks, though, with a sassy break-up of a cross-crease pass.
12:46 After Halischuk gets in on a one-on-one but decides to pass instead of shooting, the Rangers head down the other way and Marty is called upon to make a dazzling little toe save. Chico stuns the entire MSG+ audience by sniffing that Marty just stuck his foot out and the puck hit it. Is this Joe Micheletti in a Chico costume?
11:23 This game has been taken over by Putrid Paulie.
10:23 Play is looking a little choppy right now, but mostly tilted, as Doc would say, toward the Rangers. Patty sums things up nicely while responding to a play at center ice, “Oh my gosh! If I was a Rangers fan I’d be mad.” Pause. “But then I’d be relieved.”
9:56 We had been mellowing a bit recently on our hard-line anti-Niedermayer-the-Lesser stance. But now we’re back to where we started with him; he hits Roszival on an icing and gets penalized for it. (Chico tries to tell us that it’s not Niedermayer’s job to know whether icing is being called on any given play where he might be chasing down a potential icing. It’s clearly not Micheletti anymore.)
7:56 It’s a miracle! The PK manages not to give up a goal!
6:21 Shortly after the Devils scored their second goal, Schnookie declared, “The game can end now. This was awesome.” It seems the Devils thought that was actually happening.
5:35 The Zach/Zubrus/Langer line manages to put together a good scoring chance, with Zach leading Zubrus for a shot from the near circle, but there are no Devils in sight after the shot to follow up on the rebound. And there also aren’t any Devils in sight defensively behind the play, and Kotalik scores on the ensuing breakaway. 2-2 game.
3:30 Schnookie has been on a loud, wine-fueled rant about how much she hates Devils/Rangers games, and finally Pookie tries to defuse the situation with a little Katamari humor. “Knock knock,” she says. “Who’s there?” Schnookie shouts belligerently. “The Rangers,” Pookie answers. “The Rangers who?” “The Rangers. That is our name. And we are assholes.” Good one, Pookie!
2:43 Niedermayer the Lesser (whom we may have mentioned recently we fully hate again) and Bergfors have an opportunity to get a two-on-none on a terrible Rangers change… and they go offsides. It seems like the Devils hate Devils/Rangers games as much as we do. At least we hope they do. Because they really suck at them.
0:30 Paulie makes a good play to keep the puck in the Rangers zone. “Come on, guys,” Pookie exhorts, “Build in that!” Still in the pits of despair, Schnookie grumbles, “He’s still got a lot of putridity to make up for.” Pookie: “Yeah, but I was hoping that was the courageous play they could all get behind.” Even she doesn’t believe that.
0:00 Well, we’ve seen better periods between these two teams.
19:53 We’re making ourselves feel better about this game by looking at pictures of a fabric line called “Chum=Chum bear”. It’s adorable. Chum=Chum Devils/Rangers is less adorable.
18:00 Rangers fans start their chant for The Prawn after he stops a Clarkson shot from the side of the net. Silly Rangers fans. Clarkson never scores from the side of the net unless he carried the puck around behind the net first.
16:55 Boyle tries to truck into the Devils zone, but after a long rush up the rink, has the puck roll off his stick around the faceoff circles. Doc’s call, though, is that Boyle was defended off by Andy Greene, who, by our judgment, seemed just to have been standing nearby when the puck was lost. Patty: “He was defended off by Greene’s heat shield. Which extends about eight feet in front of him.”
16:24 Pookie, grumbling to herself as Paulie goes offsides: “Paulie’s having a Mrs. Pancake Baby.”
15:31 In the course of his play-by-play, Doc says someone was “defended off by Rolston”. Pookie: “I’ll believe that if I see it.” Pause. “And because this is standard def, I can pretend I didn’t see it.”
13:37 Applemotherfuckingsauce saves Marty’s bacon hugely when Marty passes the puck from behind the net to a Ranger in the slot. As the MSG crowd is warming up its best mocking, goal-celebrating cheer, Applesauce dives to break up the turnover at just the last second. The crowd is left with the far less satisfying mocking, no-goal-was-actually-scored chant.
12:09 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wha-HUH???? No one – and we mean no one — is paying any attention as the Rangers seem to have everything under control with the puck behind their net, and suddenly the d-man is being pressured by a Devil, the puck gets turned over to Zach high around the far boards, Zach moves a shot netward in a blink of an eye, and Zubrus is on the spot to tip the shot past a completely oblivious Prawn. It’s 3-2 Devils, and even Chico thinks that lead came out of nowhere.
9:30 In the course of his play-by-play, Doc describes Girardi as “kneeling”. Pookie: “Girardi’s kneeling to pour libations for Gilroy.”
9:05 Travis gets a mini-break on the Prawn, but the Prawn’s glove is stronger than Travis’s shot.
6:39 Uh oh. The Devils are Applesauceless right now, and our intrepid broadcast team doesn’t know why.
5:53 The Rangers have a thousand glorious opportunities, with a madly scrambling Marty and Devils D losing the puck and their bearings, but all of a sudden Rolston’s got the puck, is looking to clear it, and the Ranger holding the point just decides to let him walk on by. So Rolston and Zach get a rink-long two-on-one on which neither guy wants to shoot the puck. What, because both of them are shy? Neither believes he deserves a chance to shoot? We hope it’s because neither thinks he’s good enough to score, because that would be correct.
2:38 Pookie: “Okay, there are two and a half minutes left in this game.” Schnookie: “Plenty of time for them to rip my heart out of my chest.” Pookie: “And put it in a tote bag while it’s still bleeding out.”
2:00 Callahan gets unleashed on a long breakaway, and at the very last minute, as his stick is just about to strike the puck on his big shot, Whitey dives from miles behind him and gets just the tiniest piece of the stick, breaking up the play. Yowza.
0:40 When the Rangers pulled the goalie, Pookie asked, “Why is Zach out there?” Well… WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! He’s there to score into the empty net. 4-2 Devils, and now we all get to revisit JP Parise’s first goal with the Northstars thanks to Chico never being able to let us get through a Rangers game without talking about him.
0:23 Oduya takes a hooking penalty. Argh!
0:00 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We have definitely seen worse games between these two teams! Not only that, but in closing out the broadcast, Doc says that Gel-O and Stan are going to “break down the game with soldering irons and saws”. Shout-out! Shout-out!