Watch this space for a diary of tonight’s game against Phoenix. In the meantime, look! We found where Chico isn’t shopping:
We were all ready to be in a good mood for this game, but when we turn it on, we get the tail end of the pregame with Stan excitedly telling us all about the former Rangers playing for the Coyotes. Sigh. If only MSG+ would realize that Devils fans don’t like their pregame show narrated through Blueshirt-colored glasses. Also, it seems there’s no Doc tonight. Man, they’re killing us here!
In preposterous pregame pontification news, Stan thinks Rolston’s due for a bust-out game tonight. HA! We’re not waiting for that while hanging from a rope around our necks.
19:14 Hm. Steve tells us the Coyotes have lost five of their last six. And meanwhile, the Devils are coming off an emotional divisional win, and have had a faint whiff of “swoon” to them lately. Pookie: “Well, something’s got to give.”
16:13 Play has been choppy so far. Lots of offsides. Which is good, because this 9:00 start time is making it tough for us to get into it for the diary. (Nothing’s ever good enough for us, is it? 7:00 is too early! 9:00 is too late! Wah wah wah!)
13:00 We are discussing how hard it is to pay attention to games with play-by-play done by Gel-O, and Pookie says, as she turns up the volume a few ticks, “It’s tough when Gel-O is in charge.” Pause. “It’s a lot like Charles In Charge, except I never saw that show, so I have no idea what it was like.”
10:38 The Poppers, for the umpteenth time tonight, generate some great scoring chances on their shift. They seem to be a bit more than the Coyotes can handle. Pookie, ever the optimist, doesn’t necessarily believe in them: “Don’t you just feel like they’re never going to score again? I’m going off the Ranger game, I think.” Of course, that game made it seem like no one, anywhere, ever, was going to score again.
9:42 Marty and Whitey conspire to shut down a scrambling near-miss by the Coyotes, and we go to commercial reflecting on the conversation Chico and Gel-O had about the coaches in this game. They lit upon the fact that Tippett seemed tailor-made for the vacancy left with the Devils by Sutter, and remarked how the Devils aren’t sorry now with the pick they ended up making. And honestly, if you’d told us back then that we’d be as happy with Lemaire as we are now, we’d have laughed in your face. Or maybe punched you in the throat. It’s crazy.
8:42 The Rolston bust-out game hasn’t started yet. He gets a chance off a three-on-three rush, and hits the outside of the net. Pookie mistakenly thinks the shot went in, until she realizes who was shooting.
7:05 It’s the ZZ Boogersfors line on the ice now, and they’re just cycling and cycling and cycling around the perimeter, with absolute ownership of the puck, but not really breaking the D down to generate some scoring chances.
6:44 Isn’t that how it always goes? The Coyotes weather the ZZ Boogers shift, turn up the ice, and immediately score on a deflection off the rush. The goal is Lombardi’s, and it’s 1-0 Coyotes.
5:47 Pookie: “This has been a fast period. There haven’t been any power plays.” Pause. “Or icings.” It definitely seems like one of those games where all parties involved want to get in and out and over with as quickly as possible. Boomer, remembering the time we raced from the Staples Center to our hotel in Anaheim, suggests: “They need to get back to the hotel before room service closes so they can order dessert.”
4:37 The Coyotes get their first real shift of sustained pressure, and unlike when the Poppers were doing it, end up drawing a penalty. It’s a cross-check on Applesauce. When we come back from commercial, we see a replay of the situation, wherein Upshall elbows Applesauce in the jaw, then Applesauce comes back with a gently jab in the back, and Upshall goes down like he’s been stabbed in the kidneys. Chico is livid.
2:37 At least there’s some justice in the world, as the PP passes without a goal.
0:45 Pookie breaks the dull silence in the living room of stately IPB Manor: “I think they’re playing rope-a-dope.” Long silence. “They’re like, ‘We’re just going to sit back and wait for the shootout.’ The coaches are like, ‘You don’t get to go to a shootout if you’re losing,’ but the Devils won’t hear it.”
0:30 Whitey can’t hold the point after an offensive-zone penalty, and Mueller ends up blowing past him for a breakaway. 2-0 Coyotes, and Pookie sums up the play, “Peter Mueller: faster than Colin White.”
0:00 Well that was lame!
19:32 Gel-O opened the first period by raving about how the Devils are the best road team in the NHL, and he’s opening this period by telling us they’re 1-2-1 on the road against the Western Conference. What a difference 20 minutes of hockey makes.
18:41 Zach pulls up to get a quick shot off the rush, and Boogerfors’s follow-up on the rebound goes well wide. Zach and Boogerfors are never going to score again! (Actually, Boogerfors’s raison d’etre lately seems to be to remind Devils fans why you don’t ever want to be counting on a rookie to be one of your top scorers all season.)
16:17 The Brian Rolston Break-Out Watch of 2010 is still ongoing, as he draws a penalty to Yandle on the rush, but then fails to turn three consecutive shot attempts into real scoring chances, and feeds Applesauce a bobbling pass that Applesauce can’t handle when he loses the point. He’s the worst hockey player alive! BOOOOOOOO!
15:16 We would like very much for the Devils to spend their next practice doing an exhaustive remedial passing workshop.
15:01 As Oduya retrieves the puck from behind Marty’s net again, Pookie says dryly, “This is the best power play I’ve ever seen.”
14:43 Oh shit. It’s another penalty on the Coyotes, when Rolston (!?!) gets tripped in the neutral zone. You can put a fork in the Devils, because the 5-on-3 is absolute murder.
14:29 Travis puts everyone out of their misery by holding Hanzal up off an offensive-zone faceoff. While we wait for the teams to get set in the Devils zone after the whistle goes on the penalty, Chico goes through a bizarre series of mental contortions coming up with potential scenarios wherein the Devils could score on the 12-second 4-on-3. Pookie: “Chico. Please.”
13:48 Pookie is stunned when a Devil manages to hold the puck at the point. “Oh my God,” she gasps, “A Devil kept the point! All we need now is for one to keep the point and score a goal. Then we’re right back in it.” That’s sarcasm, in case your sarcasm-meter isn’t working.
10:27 No. Way. The Brian Rolston Break-Out Watch of 2010 might be over. He leaps off the bench to take a sick two-zone pass from Egg to get a breakaway on which he scores. We know! We didn’t think either of those guys had that in them! It’s 2-1 Coyotes, and WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!
10:19 The Coyotes are unraveling! They can’t handle being scored on by Brian Rolston, of all people, and one of them takes a slashing penalty. The Devils have got them right where they want them. Either that, or they’ll keep on sucking with the man advantage.
8:19 They went with the latter.
5:54 This is our conversation while the ZZs are pinning the Coyotes in their zone:
Schnookie: “You know why I think the Devils are swoony? Because they’ve had a consistent lineup lately. They don’t have guys coming in and out of the roster, and having brief windows to prove themselves. “
Pookie: “They need to—”
Schnookie & Pookie, in unison: “WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!”
As we are complaining, Travis and Zach conspire to force a turnover coming off the near boards, and Travis walks down the slot to laser a shot past Bryzgalov. 2-2 game.
3:56 Pookie notices that the little Coyotes logo next to the team name on the scoreboard at the top of the screen looks like it’s howling the time clock.
1:19 Every time Gel-O mentions Lepisto in the course of his play-by-play, we get nostalgic for the Sestito Puente Era.
0:00 That was less lame!
20:00 Before the drop of the puck, Gel-O goes on at length about how if Marty wins tonight, it’ll be the fastest he ever got to 30 wins in a season in his career. What a difference 20 more minutes of hockey makes.
19:28 Marty stumbles but manages to hold fast against a bouncing shot. Chico happily points out that the Coyotes have now matched their shot output from the entire second period.
17:28 It looks for just a moment like Patty and Niedermayer (the Lesser) are getting in on a two-on-one, but Lombardi makes himself a human blanket getting back on the backcheck, and ties up Niedermayer (the Lesser) to the extent that all he can do when Patty gets him the puck is push it weakly into Bryzgalov’s glove. It’s so pathetic that even Chico laughs about how easy a save it was.
16:11 Fraser flings a bouncing puck over the glass, and gets called for delay of game. It’s okay, though, because he’s cute. And we’re shallow. And we’ll change our tune if the Coyotes score on the PP.
14:12 With a thicket of players in front of Marty, the Coyotes manage to muster their first PP shot of the night. It does not lead to a goal, so we’re still okay with Fraser.
10:18 Schnookie: “Well, how is Patty supposed to do anything when he’s out there with Niedermayer (the Lesser) and Rolston?” As if to prove her point, Patty uncorks a nifty little pass to unleash Rolston all alone in front of the Phoenix net, and Rolston ends up backhanding a pass to no one. Meanwhile, Niedermayer (the Lesser) stands dumbly to the side, watching the play unfold. Pookie: “I’m beginning to regret ever saying anything nice about Rob Niedermayer.”
8:17 We get a look at a cute family sitting in the stands – Chico’s daughter, son-in-law, and sister. Chico puffs up and starts telling us all about how much they all love being in the Southwest, and how his sister is snowbirding for just a month, and blah blah blah, and play seems to still be going on, but he doesn’t care.
8:08 The Chico family is terrible luck, as the Coyotes score on a cross-crease feed from the near corner, all before Chico’s done talking about his sister and daughter. Winnik looks like he’s gotten the goal, and then gets high-sticked by Fraser on the play, drawing a penalty. Replay shows that Fraser not only took a terrible penalty, but also actually tipped that puck into his own net. We are not okay with that. It’s 3-2 Coyotes, and the Devils are now going down a man.
6:52 Fraser is the worst player on Earth. Michalek scores on a loooooong shot to make it 4-2 Coyotes. Pookie: “This shows us why we should not only not have a shootout, but we shouldn’t have a third period, either. This game should have ended a 2-2 tie.” This also shows us why Gel-O shouldn’t spend an hour at the outset of the third period telling us all about how this is going to be Marty’s 30th win.
6:20 Pookie, to the TV: “Listen guys. Paulie Martin isn’t walking through that door.”
4:44 The Brian Rolston Break-Out Watch of 2010 has no idea what to make of things when, with absolutely nothing good going on for the Devils, Rolston wheels at the point to fire a no-look shot toward the net that Hambone tips over Bryzgalov to make it 4-3 Coyotes. WOOOOOOO? The hell?
3:50 The Devils also don’t know what to make of that last goal, because they’re getting pinned in their own zone rather than trying to build some kind of momentum.
3:27 You know, we defended Applesauce in the comments here earlier today (albeit weakly), and how does he thank us? He thanks us by abandoning his man in front of Marty’s crease while the Devils are being badly outworked in their own zone, watching in horror as Phoenix gets the puck to that guy at the top of the crease, watching in relief while Marty makes a crazy stacked-pad save, then skating out to the top of the crease to cross-check the guy in the head after the fact. Thanks, Applesauce. Thanks for nothing.
1:04 The Devils have the extra attacker out. Our hopes are not buoyed.
0:30 Boomer jokingly complains while the Devils scramble fruitlessly, “What’s Langenbrunner doing out there?” Pookie adds, equally joking, “What’s Niedermayer doing out there?” Pause. “Wait. Seriously. What is Niedermayer doing out there?”
0:00 Well, that ended up lame.