Hey look! It’s the Devils and the LightningBOLTS!! Let’s have at it!
19:51 Doc is as puzzled as everyone else when Jacques starts the game with an unholy line of Zach, Niedermayer (the Lesser) and Pikkarainen. Seriously. This might be just because everyone’s gotten kind of mellow about the constant line changing, so Jacques just wants to remind us how maddening it was earlier this season. (In discussing the line combos, Chico and Doc get going about how Oduya and Pando are coming back tomorrow. It’s only been 17 games since PandoNation last saw its emperor-god, but it’s felt like at least a lifetime.)
18:40 Okay, the second shift is Zach, Boogerfors and Patty. Because Zach is playing 60 minutes tonight.
17:41 Boomer hasn’t even had time to get settled in front of the TV before the Devils are on the power play already. A LightningBOLT! whose name we aren’t inclined to look up to ensure we’re spelling it correctly happens to be standing near a Devil when he falls over, and it gets called. There’s a lesson to be learned in that – don’t go standing near the Devils, LightningBOLTS!.
15:16 The PP doesn’t accomplish anything with its considerable puck possession. During the continuation of play in the BOLTS! zone, Pookie says, “I don’t think it’s a good sign that I keep thinking Salvador is injured, and that’s why I keep forgetting about him. I’m always like, ‘When the Iron Boar comes back, we’ll be better.’”
10:48 Schnookie: “If the BOLTS! had to have one of last year’s Flyers’ goalies playing tonight, why couldn’t it have been Biron?”
9:03 Doc tells us that Konopka has fought twice against the Devils this season, and is elaborating when he suddenly corrects himself; it turns out it’s the Iron Boar who has fought twice against the BOLTS!, not the other way around. Schnookie: “Konopka’s like, ‘Please! I have a reputation to consider!’” Pookie: “And I’m sure there would be a fight tonight, if only the Iron Boar wasn’t injured.”
7:58 Chico assures us that Niittymaki is every bit as bad as Biron against the Devils, having gone 0-5-5 in his last ten against them. Except his GAA is 2.33 in those games, while Biron’s is, like, 5,000.
5:58 Playing the part of the Iron Boar and Konopka tonight are Corrente and Wright. And Corrente lays a bit of a beating onto our favorite cousin of alix’s.
When we come back from commercial, we see that the fight was precipitated by Wright taking liberties (what else is new?) with the Iron Boar. Iron Boar’s probably thinking, “If only I wasn’t hurt right now, I’d be able to fight my own battles.”
2:50 MSG+ tells us that Stamkos is only the 6th player in NHL history to score goals in each of his first three games against Marty. Considering that every active NHL scored in at least his first game against Marty, that’s impressive that there’s such a drop-off looking to the second and third games.
2:36 The Iron Boar commits so egregious a turnover in the slot in front of Marty that Pookie declares, “Okay, I’m going to go injure Salvador now so he won’t be in our lineup.” (To be fair, Iron Boar puts in a valiant effort recovering on the play, and the BOLTS! don’t score. To be even more fair, the BOLTS! likely don’t score on the play solely because it’s Lacavalier, pining away over his lost chance to become a Devil last season, taking the shot.)
1:32 Langer gets called for hooking Stamkos. Chico thinks the call is bullshit, because it was a delayed offside. Pookie: “Chico’s in fine form tonight.”
0:00 That was a markedly better first period than the one against Vancouver on Wednesday was. We get an interview with Corrente, and he is hilariously unseasoned. He also blurts that he doesn’t know the name of the guy he just fought. Does that mean our six degrees of separation now from Corrente don’t really count?
18:34 The phonk? Lecavalier decides to show his not-quite team what they’re missing, by scoring easily on a slow-to-unfold wraparound. It’s 1-0 LightningBOLTS!, and Chico tells us that Vinny was penciled in for 50 this year, and “so far” has only five. Boomer: “Well, Marty’s glad to help.” Pookie: “Yeah. Good thing that goal counts for 45.”
17:42 It should be noted that Pookie gave a gift of retro cookie cutters to Schnookie for Advent this year; it’s the same set we had as children, and we’re absolutely delighted to have the ax-shaped cutter back in our lives. Pookie is making holiday sugar cookies tonight, and she starts rambling here, “In honor of Coach Foxy getting fired today, I’m going to combine butter… sugar… eggs… and fire, and end up with an ax. Because that’s what Coach Foxy got today!” Pause. “That joke knew where it was going long before I did.”
17:01 It’s halfway to the real deal as Corrente fights Konopka. We’ll know this game has finally arrived when Corrente fights the Iron Boar.
They fight for, like, 45 minutes.
14:55 Mahmoud the cat is inappropriately vocalizing again. Speaking of things that should get the ax.
13:57 Zach gets called for tripping, but the replay MSG+ shows of what we’re presuming is the infraction shows Zach lunging after Stamkos, nefariously hooking/holding/whatevering him, and then falling over in a clumsy heap. It’s magnificent.
11:57 That power play was positively Devilsish! Doc, who spent most of it talking about how there are still penalty clocks showing major penalties, and going off on some tangent about a scoreboard for some minor-league team in Indiana somewhere, remarks at the conclusion of the kill that the clock is now cleared of penalties of the minor kind. Pookie: “Zach’s like, ‘Did you just call me “minor”?’”
10:38 Channeling her inner Carrie Bradshaw, Pookie says, “I couldn’t help but wonder, is Bergfors the new Gionta?”
10:16 Doc and Chico are spinning their wheels trying to explain why the Devils look so terrible tonight. Chico says, “On their last shift, if Zach and Patrik could have just connected two crisp, direct passes, the Devils could have had an odd-man rush.” Pookie: “The day I ever say, ‘If only a Devils player could have connected a crisp, direct pass…’” then she trails off ominously. It’s true. Better not wait for that while hanging from a rope around your neck.
8:07 We are on tenterhooks checking the weather predictions here, because we have been PROMISED snow tomorrow. Boomer informs us now that Accuweather is predicting “A December to Remember.” Seriously. Schnookie: “Yes, but what am I going to remember this December for? Its unremarkable weather?”
7:40 Patty gets flattened by Malone on a clean hit, then gets to his feet and jumps Malone to avenge his embarrassment. Stamkos then leaps into the fray to further humiliate Patty, and somehow out of all of this, Fraser ends up in a wee little tussle/fight with Malone. It all happens in a blink of an eye, but it’s awesome nonetheless. And it ends with a BOLTS! power play.
6:23 Rolston leads the way on what could have been a shorthanded rush, but ends up not being one when he pulls up and waits, and waits, and waits, and waits for someone to follow up with him. Chico tells us that Rolston kinda blew it there by waiting for the d-men who should have been coming late, but weren’t because they were changing. Schnookie: “The Devils D never come late.” Pause. “Huh huh.” Pause. “They’re always coming and going and going and coming and always too soon.”
4:02 Gel-O steps in to inform us when we come back from commercial to give us the official news of Coach Foxy’s firing. Pookie: “I’m going to pour some cake ingredients on the floor in his memory.” He was, apparently, the longest-tenured coach in the Atlantic Division. It’s just proof that all the other teams in our division just want to copy the Devils.
1:35 Okay, this game is getting hilarious. First, Acorns and Konopka fall into the BOLTS! bench when Travis puts a slow-developing hit into the BOLTS! pugilist, then the play starts wheeling madly up and down the ice, then Whitey throws a flying tornado hit into a BOLT! in the far corner, and then Marty freezes the puck on a juggling, bobbling save. The Devils are seriously sucking for the second game in a row, but it’s still been oddly fun.
0:32 Chico mentions the late-coming D again, as his only suggestion for how the Devils might possibly be able to muster some offense. We chortle, and Pookie says, “If I start calling Zach ‘The Teutonic Titwillow’, will he start scoring again?”
0:00 To cap off an entertainingly dreadful period, we get an interview with Niedermayer (the Lesser). He probably also doesn’t know alix’s cousin’s name, but the opportunity doesn’t arise for him to reveal that. Stan asks him for the solution for how the Devils can score goals, and sadly, Niedermayer (the Lesser) doesn’t bust out laughing and say, “If I knew that, would I be (the Lesser)?”
18:48 Things are going to start changing now that the Devils are on the PP thanks to a phenomenally stupid slashing penalty well off of the play. Now is the turning point, if this game goes according to the Chico Plan, the system by which every team just needs a power play to get a goal, “and they’ll be right back in it.”
18:45 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! The Chico Plan worked! Right off the faceoff, Rolston rockets a monster slapshot over Niittymaki’s glove into the top corner. It’s a 1-1 game, and that is what the Devils signed Rolston for. Wowza.
18:25 Halpern trips Applesauce in the corner to Marty’s left, and the Devils go back on the PP. This is not, we don’t think, what Tocchet had in mind for this period.
16:58 This is not, we don’t think, what Lemaire had in mind for this PP.
16:10 On yet another delayed penalty by the BOLTS!, Andy “Game Over” Greene knifes through a wall of BOLTS! defenders, beats Niittymaki through the five-hole, but watches his shot skitter goallessly through the crease and just out past the far post. Rats. That would have been awesome.
14:46 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Boogerfors! Boogerfors! Niclas Boogerfors! Off a lost offensive-zone faceoff, Zharkov (whom Pookie has dubbed “The Land Zhark”) forces the BOLTS! d-man (David Hale, of all people) to cough the puck up to Boogerfors, who is all alone on the doorstep. And just like that, it’s 2-1 Devils, because the line of Niedermayer (the Lesser), Boogerfors, and the Land Zhark is nothing if not money.
12:00 EEK! St. Louis tries one of those can’t-miss-against-Marty reeeeeeaaaaally bad-angle shots, but Marty just manages to hold the post and keep the puck out. Pookie: “Oof. That would have gone in last year.” Boomer: “That would have gone in in the first period.” Chico tells us, during the replay, that fans “might” remember that St. Louis scored on Marty “from some bad angles” during the playoffs a few years ago. Pookie: “He scored from every bad angle in that series.”
9:46 Is this a BOLTS! power play? Why are the Devils getting pinned in their own zone? Do they think 2-1 is an insurmountable lead? Boomer: “Well, it would be for them.”
6:24 Chico is exhorting fans to go to Trenton Devils games. He’s couching it in terms of “it’s fun minor-league hockey, and it’s a shorter drive than Lowell”. And, well, the one time the Devils played a preseason game in Trenton, we discovered that only having to drive 20 minutes to get to a hockey game is, indeed, a wonderful thing. But, um, we still aren’t going to go to any Trenton Devils games.
4:33 We are informed that Corrente is probably not going to see much more ice time tonight. And Chico is as broken up about the lost opportunity for a Corrente/Iron Boar heavyweight bout as we are.
3:42 This shift looks just like the end of G7 against Carolina last spring. But that’s okay. We didn’t want to see a win anyway.
3:15 Because the BOLTS! don’t already have enough momentum, Fraser hooks St. Louis while falling over after a hit. When we come back from commercial, Chico tells us that Whitey’s left the game, and with Corrente on the bench and Fraser in the box, killing this penalty should be a breeze.
3:00 What a shocker! It’s an easy tic-tac-toe play for Downie to tie the game at 2. Once again, prevent defense prevents you from winning, Devils.
2:32 The Devils seem confused by this strange end of the ice they’re playing in. They’re creeped out that there’s a goalie in it, but he’s wearing the same sweater as the other team.
1:51 Halischuk very nearly becomes our favorite Devil whom we can’t recognize by sight, but his miracle sneaking-behind-the-BOLTS!-D rush comes up short when his punch-in attempt on a hard-working rebound goes through Niittymaki, but, like Andy “Game Over” Greene’s one-man rush earlier in the game, skitters just past the far goalpost.
0:38 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! Chico calls this one best: “WHOA! SHOCKER.” It seems like not a whole lot of anything is going on in the BOLTS! zone, but then Rolston gets the puck to Game Over at the point, and Game Over does exactly what his name suggests – he fires a perfectly tippable shot through a thicket of traffic, and out of nowhere, it beats Niittymaki. 3-2 Devils, and Pookie finally has to admit it: yes Virginia, there is an AndyGreeneNation. (The goal is credited to Langer, but replay suggests he may not have touched it.)
0:00 Hot diggity damn! The Devils snatch victory from the jaws of defeat on a night when they set their season low in shots taken, but a win’s a win. AndyGreeneNation is outraged that its emperor-god is robbed of his first star of the game by a shameless Langer, but it’s all good.
Also good? The Devils didn’t work too hard tonight, so they should still be fresh tomorrow, for Boomer’s first trip to The Rawk. WOO HOOO!