Well, it’s the saddest time of the year, Gentle Reader – the time when the Holiday Season is officially over. Oh, sure, it’s not Christmas yet, or even really all that close, but during the pregame we got, in place of a Radio City Christmas Show commercial, an ad for Riverdance. Riverdance, people. Before we know it, the Devils are going to be March Swooning again. Where does the time go?
17:59 We are ranting about our issues with the way the Winter Classic gets marketed while the Devils are, for the most part, getting the better of the play. Suddenly Pookie stops herself and sighs happily, “Every time the camera angle shows our seats [from the Detroit game], I think, ‘Those are our seats!’” You can take the season tickets away from the girl, but you can’t take the season-ticketholder away from her.
14:26 Gah! For once the choice to use that behind-the-net cam pays off, as the Devils get a great point shot after an offensive-zone draw, but it hits the pipe and kicks across the goalmouth and out of the crease after beating Ward. Boo! That sucked!
13:36 The payoff for that shot that hit the goalpost is that, after Marty freezes the puck at the other end, MSG+ gives us a replay during which Chico does what we think might be his first-ever on-air Doc impression. He was still talking during the play when it happened (shocking, we know), and he wanted to express his regrets for not letting Doc do his patented, “He hit the post with his shot!”
12:25 Skating with the ZZ’s, Boogerfors gets a chance out of nothing at the side of the net, and Doc marvels that young Boogerfors “has hands like his linemates”. Pookie: “I thought he said he has cans like his linemates. Somebody loves those cans!”
8:49 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!! You know you’ve just scored a cheap goal when Doc’s immediate call is “They don’t say how, they just say how many!” Boogerfors hypnotizes the Carolina D with his smooth skating stylings, and while all the guys in white sweaters are beguiled, Patty pinballs a shot off a defender’s skate and through Ward. 1-0 Devils, and BoogerforsNation is ecstatic.
6:54 Oh shit. The Iron Boar goes down really awkwardly in the corner to Marty’s left after being shoved from behind by Cole. Replay shows his leg buckling painfully, and the Iron Boar is extremely slow to get up. Chico spends the time while the Boar is down telling us first that he clearly hit his head, then telling us it’s his hip, then his knee, then his ankle, and then he tells us that he doesn’t want to jump to any conclusions. Thanks for that responsible reporting, Chico. Cole gets a boarding penalty on the play, and honestly, for a guy who had his neck broken on a boarding hit, Cole shows a shocking lack of respect for opponents in vulnerable positions like that.
4:34 Chico: “You can’t argue with this Devils power play, except that it hasn’t scored.” Pookie: “I can argue with that.”
4:05 The Devils are continuing to not score on the PP while Chico gives us our nightly weather report from the northern prairies. It was 30 below in Moose Jaw and Regina today, apparently.
2:46 Now, we love the Land Zhark as much as the next person, but when he is carrying the puck on a three-on-none with Zach and Patty, and chooses to shoot… well, we’re not so sure about his decision-making paradigm.
2:06 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Blandy! Blandy! Blandy Game Over Greene! Everyone’s favorite younger, cheaper, Sutter-squelched Rafalski replacement gets the shot at the center point, skates a few steps in and around the traffic in front, then lasers a top shelf shot that Ward never has a chance on. It’s 2-0 Devils, and replay shows that Pando made a lot of that happen by smartly weaving into the crowd in front of the crease to screen Ward. PandoNation swoons.
0:00 We LOVED that period! We get an interview with Blandy in which Stan declares that he is going to stun Blandy with the news that he is supporting his candidacy as an all-star. Blandy tries to play it cool, with effusive thanks for the sentiment, but we can tell that he’s like, “You know, I think you’re right, you crazy old coot.”
Before the period starts, MSG+ gives us a gushing paean to Pando, in which they pull out his PIM/game stats that demonstrate that no one in the entire history of the league has had a lower rate of PIM in the regular season or the playoffs. PandoNation falls into an even deeper swoon.
19:42 IronBoarsylvania is a sad place to be right now, as its emperor-god has not returned to the game. Dano threw a clot during intermission about how dirty he thought the injurious play by Cole was. We’re sure Cole is going to cry himself to sleep about that tonight.
18:39 The Devils seem shocked that the Hurricanes are playing in their offensive zone, and after a flurry of activity around Marty, Mottau takes a tripping penalty.
17:29 The Canes move the puck well around the perimeter, finally setting up a point shot for Cullen. Things are looking grim, but the shot just clanks loudly off the goalpost. The crowd exhales nervously. Everyone’s getting greedy after 103.
14:20 The Canes are getting some flow in the Devils zone, but things suddenly go sideways when The Kazoo decides to whack Mottau in the face. Somebody hates that Applesauce! The Devils go on the PP.
13:49 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Blandy is a beast! He carries the puck into the Carolina zone, dishes to Zach at the far wing, stands around to admire his pass long enough to get steamrolled by a Hurricane in the high slot, gets back to his feet, realizes there’s a rebound sitting right in front of him and no goalie between him and the net, and scores. It’s 3-0 Devils, and the All-Stars only wish they were good enough for Blandy.
13:12 BOOOOOOOO! The goal announcement isn’t over yet when Sutter snaps a shot from a good ways out that ricochets off Fraser’s stick and his foot before beating Marty. It’s 3-1 Devils, and with the shutout lost, there’s no point watching anymore. On the bright side, though, we don’t have to care about Sutter anymore, now that his dad isn’t our team’s coach anymore.
12:08 Pookie is working on some quilt piecing, and declares as we go to commercial, “Okay, this paper cut I have is in entirely the wrong place for quilting. However much pain the Iron Boar is in right now, it’s not as bad as what I’m dealing with.”
11:37 Niedermayer (the Lesser) seems to agree with us that the remainder of this game doesn’t matter, now that we know it’s not going to be shutout #104, so he hauls down a Cane in front of Marty’s net to the tune of a penalty.
11:12 You know, 3-0 felt like such an unassailably vast lead. But here are the stupid Devils proving Stan and his dumb “three goals is the worst lead in hockey” right. Everyone, including Marty, stands around watching while Ruutu makes it 3-2 Devils. Chico informs us that the Devils are not dominating this period like they did the first. He adds that the difference between tonight and the game in Buffalo on Monday is that the Canes, unlike the Sabres, seem to have made adjustments to actually try to win. We prefer the Sabres’ approach.
9:56 We go to commercial, get halfway through a spot, and suddenly we’re back in the middle of play with Doc saying, “Oh, nice move Johnny! Johnny Oduya skating through traffic and drawing a penalty!” And then we go to commercial again. We have no idea what’s going on. We come back from commercial again to see Cole in the box, and Iron Boar on the bench. It would seem the Iron Boar was shamed by Pookie’s perseverance through her paper cut.
8:20 Rolston gets a midrange shot that rings off the outside of the goalpost, and Doc gives an emphatic “and it rang off the pipe!” to make up for the call he missed in the first.
6:20 For a team that’s getting the significant better of the play in this period, the Canes just can’t stop taking bad penalties. Here, Ruutu hooks the Iron Boar behind Marty’s net to put the Devils up a man.
2:56 We feel like we’ve lived every day this week at least twice, and are at low ebb here on this not-even-close-to-being-Friday Wednesday. The Devils aren’t helping right now. Langer rags the puck a bit around the neutral zone and then walks into the Canes’ end before firing a shot through Ward from a terrible angle that goes through the five hole and then out to the front of the net, where a d-man is waiting to pick it up and head the other way up the ice. Doc remarks that he doesn’t think he’s ever seen anything quite like that before. Pookie: “Langer thinks if he does that twice, it counts for a goal.”
2:27 Pookie is convinced Zach is never going to score again, despite his having two assists in this game. She grumbles about him as we go to commercial, “Easy breezy funfetti.”
0:47 Pookie speaks for Devils fans everywhere when she remarks, “I wonder which Devils team is going to come out for the third…”
0:00 We HATED that period!
18:55 Ah. So it’s the second-period Devils again here in the third. They spend the first minute pinned in their own zone, and finally Applesauce ends everyone’s suffering by finishing the shift with a boarding penalty. Wait, no – that’s not ending anyone’s suffering at all. Chico tells us during the replay that it was a good call, and Pookie sighs, “Mottau, you just took a penalty that not even Chico could argue. That’s just sad.”
14:56 Whoops! We stopped paying attention there. In case you’re counting on us for game updates, rest assured that we didn’t miss any scoring. Heh.
14:09 We’ve returned to paying attention in time to see the Hurricanes turn the Devils’ zone into a shooting gallery. Gee. This is going great.
11:44 For the first time in recent memory, the Devils get a shift in the offensive zone. No one really knows what to do with themselves, not least of all, Ward, but fortunately for the Canes, the best scoring chance turns out to be a long shot that just barely skitters wide of the post on its way past the unsuspecting Carolina goaltender.
10:54 Doc tells us the shots are 5-0 Carolina in this period, but it feels like much, much more than that. MSG+ then tells us the Canes have been outscored 42-20 in the third period this season. Well, isn’t that nice of them to figure their shit out tonight?
8:52 MSG+ has added a feature this season wherein Chico gives us a tour of the opposing teams’ goalie’s masks. It’s not a bad feature, per se, but it’s also not terribly interesting, because, well, it’s not all that novel anymore that guys have personalized goalie masks. Anyway, tonight Chico has not been forced to explain to us anything about Cam Ward’s taste for Nickelback, because he’s giving us a tour of Legace’s mask instead. And Gentle Reader, believe us when we tell you that Manny Legace’s mask is, like, the Great American Novel. This thing goes on and on and on and on and on. He’s got all the Hurricanes/Whalers retired numbers on it, all their “honored” players, a tribute to the military, a tribute to the police, a tribute to firemen, probably a tribute to municipal sanitation workers, maybe a tribute to the local dogcatcher, and finally a tribute to meter maids. And then there’s the tribute to his mother, his children and, as Chico says, “Some famous people”. It’s an amazing sight. Pookie: “And then on this side of the mask is Hammurabi’s Code…”
6:02 Pookie: “Any old time Oduya wants to skate the puck through five defenders to score is fine with me.” Pause. “Maybe I need to start working every night the Devils work.”
5:06 Aaron Ward takes a penalty on another rare offensive-zone shift for the Devils. We smell shorty!
3:11 Blandy is trying to make this game over, but when his shot from the high slot creates a perfect rebound for Langer to fire into a wide-open net, Langer shoots directly into the toe of Gleason in front of the net.
1:20 It’s the fateful time in the third period when the Devils start thinking about losing in regulation despite having a one-goal lead. As Doc gleefully informs any fans who weren’t thinking of that stupid Game 7 right now.
0:29 It looks like it’s happening again when a broken defensive sequence gives Cole and Whitney a two-on-none right on the doorstep. A massive groan of “For fuck’s sake!” rises from the living room of stately IPB Manor, but Cole passes to Blandy instead of Kazoo.
0:12 The Canes get a last-second PP courtesy of the Iron Boar.
0:00.9 What the hell? This is not the Sutter Devils anymore, is it? The Canes have everything going right, winning the draw, setting up their play, getting the puck back to the point for the game-tying goal… and the shot hits a Carolina player above the faceoff circle. The puck bounces to Niedermayer (the Lesser), and being not at all a True Devil, Niedermayer (the Lesser) manages to fire the puck the entire length of the ice into the open net before time runs out. 4-2 Devils, and as Doc said of the Patty goal a hundred years ago when this game was still young, they don’t ask how, they ask how many. We’ll take it. And now let’s never speak of this game again.