For some reason we thought this game was scheduled to start an hour later than it was. Thank heavens MSG decided for the thousandth time this season to interview Brandon Dubinsky during the first intermission of the Rangers-Senators game, or we never would have gone to peruse the guide to see what else was on and notice the correct start time for this one. So there you go – something the Rangers are good for. Namely: driving a hockey fan to desperately change channels in search of something, anything less heinous to watch.
Steve opens the broadcast by telling us all about how this is Sutter v. Sutter tonight, and oh by the way, Zach’s out with the flu. Pookie: “We’re losing tonight.”
19:44 Filling in this evening for Zach on the Popper line is… Rod Pelley. While we love Pelley, he is not quite as interchangeable with Zach as maybe we’d like in this situation.
19:13 We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that the picture tonight is surprisingly good for a coming-from-Calgary feed. The sound, though, is really bizarre, and sounds like the crowd noise is being piped in through a long metal tube.
19:06 Madden carries the puck up the wing on a three-on-two, and shoots way wide.
18:58 We look away for a moment after a Flames shot goes wide, and when we look back there is a large scrum in the far corner in the Devils zone. We turn to Chico for an explanation of what’s going on, and he explains why this is going on thusly: “I have no idea why. I looked away for a minute.” Sigh.
16:53 Clarkson picks up where he left off in Edmonton, doing good work in front of the net, and he tips a shot up over Kiprusoff that flips over the goalie’s shoulder and drops into the blue behind him. Alas, no one is heads-up enough to find the puck before Kipper does.
16:13 Conroy slaloms through a bunch of defenders and gets a great chance in close, but Marty is just up to the challenge. A Devil takes a penalty on the play, but we’re too busy discussing dinner with Kate the Great, who’s spending Christmas at Stately IPB Manor, to notice who and for what.
14:35 FSN tries to come to our aid and puts a little graphic up telling us who took the penalty, but it says it was Cory Sarich. That is… not helpful. Pookie: “Maybe we just saw a glimpse of the future?”
13:17 Nystrom and Brookbank “fight” in the neutral zone. It is not very scintillating, as Brookbank fells Nystrom with a few weak pushes.
13:02 Asham takes a really pathetic slashing penalty at the Flames blue line. We are having a hard time getting into this game on our end, what with having company here, and the Devils are not helping by doing this.
There is no clock Conroy sets a pick on Mottau in the corner that gets called for interference.
10:27 As the Devils regroup on their power play, Doc and Chico decide to tell us about how Robin Regehr grew up in exotic locales thanks to his missionary parents, and mention that he had both a monkey and a tiger as pets when he was a kid. Chico marvels at the tiger, saying that he can’t imagine that you’d pet a tiger much after it gets to be about a year or two old. “There no such thing as a lap tiger,” he informs us.
9:47 Paulie laces a laserbeam pass diagonally across the zone, but Kipper is able to stop the shot, thereby robbing PaulieMartinNation the opportunity to celebrate a fabulous assist. We narrow our eyes with disgust.
9:10 Clarkson flattens Phaneuf when he hits him like a cannonball behind Kipper’s net. Phaneuf, ever focused on his role as the ascendant Greatest Defenceman Of All Time, goes out of his way to hit Clarkson back in open ice a few moments later. Chico and Doc are all a-quiver that this could turn into an interesting evening of exchanges.
6:51 Yelle gets called for hooking Paulie after “losing a step to Martin” (per Chico). PaulieMartinNation: “Well that’s what Steph Yelle gets for thinking he can keep up with Paulie.”
5:26 Chico tells that the Flames are built, aside from Iginla and their goaltenders, around their defense. Pookie: “Because Iginla and their goaltenders aren’t very good at keeping the puck out of their net.” Pause. “Yeah, I said it.”
4:51 That was not a great power play, in case you were wondering.
3:57 The crowd noise rises to a distant, metallic hum when Hale carries the puck down behind Marty’s net, and holds and holds and holds, then passes to the high point… but has to turn into a dull metallic groan when Marty calmly makes a save.
There is no clock again Poor Travis is just not the same player when he’s not between the blue lines. He gets the puck behind Kipper’s net after a failed attempt by Langer at a nifty tip-shot, and his aspiration at handling the puck to make a play out front fizzle out and he is easily stripped by the defender.
0:00 That was a zippy, hard-hitting period, during which we learned that perhaps we should not try to diarize games when not everyone in front of the TV here at stately IPB Manor wants to be watching hockey. We barely noticed a thing.
Steve interviews Langer and asks how Langer is coping with having Zach out of the lineup, since his absence “affects you on so many levels.” We’re sure he didn’t mean as many levels as we can imagine. Langer’s smirk suggests that perhaps the Devils are happy to be free of all of Zach’s craziness for one night.
FSN talks to Brian Sutter, and we don’t listen to him at all. We do, however, note that when they flavor this interview with footage of Brent Sutter coaching some stretching Devils during a practice, we see a bunch of Devils tying themselves into pretzel shapes, and Paulie not stretching at all. When the interview finally ends, Boomer says, “Well, I guess he got the talking gene in the family,” and Pookie grouses, “Actually, that was like one huge long Geico Quotebook.”
No clock again We get a picture tour of Doc, Chico and Steve’s visit to Viking, including a shot of the three of them inside the Viking General store. Chico says cheerfully of the good prices there this time of year, “There were a lot of people taking advantage of those great holiday savings!” Thanks, Chico.
??? Travis tries to have a Zachless Popper-style shift, and draws a hook while attempting to walk out of the corner after some good pressure. Scorched earth time!
??? Marty tries to catch the Flames PK on the change by firing a pass to Patty, who’s standing up at the Calgary blue line. Patty then decides to take a week for… something or other (his teammates to catch up with him? Who knows?), and instead both Travis and Gio go offsides on the delay. FANtastic.
16:50 While the Devils meander up the rink without much focus or visible intent, Doc tells us that Mike Mottau admitted that when he was a kid he wanted a drum set and a dog for Christmas, and never got either. In fact, he finally just had to break down as an adult and get his own damn dog. Pookie suggests that when Doc asked Travis what he wanted and never got, he answered, “Presents.”
16:09 The Devils ice the puck. On the power play. Doc says, “This doesn’t happen often,” and Pookie finishes for him, “To other teams.”
15:19 An Iginla-led flurry of pressure forces Marty to make a handful of saves before desperately flopping forward to cover the puck. The crowd responds with a tinny roar.
13:52 Patty’s line does some good work moving the puck around the perimeter and getting some half-decent looks at the net, but Zubrus spends this shift staggering around operatically, trying to convince the officials that he’s been the victim of all manner of penalties.
13:33 Perhaps Patty decided to illustrate what a real penalty looks like? Whatever his motivation, he gets called for a stupid holding infraction well behind the play on a change.
13:07 Marty makes a great post-to-post save on an Iginla one-timer after a zippy-fast cross-crease feed.
11:43 Harvey the Hound can be heard leading a “Go Flames Go” chant, and it sounds like he’s banging against the top of a Quaker Oats container.
??? After surviving a sharp-looking Flames man advantage, Greener decides the kill was so much fun for his teammates that he takes a slashing penalty in front of Marty’s net.
??? Paulie and Madden drift through the heart of the Flames zone while on a fairly passive short-handed bit of forecheck, and suddenly the Flames forget they’re supposed to be the team with the puck, and Madden rips a shot that we momentarily think has gone in, but which has actually just skipped wide and gone behind the net.
??? Gio is giftwrapped the puck all alone in the high slot, and he takes this glorious opportunity to do the Devils special – shooting wide.
??? Zubrus manages to force a turnover when he drills Hale behind Kipper’s net, but kind of just gives the puck back to the Flames while still expending the maximum effort possible while not retaining possession. As the play finally dissolves into clear, calm Flames control, Pookie comments, “Just for old time’s sake, I have to say it. ‘Hale Schmale!’” Oh, Cutting Edge references, how we love thee so.
??? Doc calls a shot attempt by Travis as “well off the mark.” Boomer, with mock outrage: “What?? ‘Well off the mark’? It was at the right end of the rink, wasn’t it?”
6:10 Oh for goodness sake. Zubrus impersonates a squirrel running up and down around a tree, only uses a Flame as the tree. He gets called for holding. Letting the Flames play most of this period on the power play can’t possibly lead to anything bad for the Devils, can it?
4:47 Marty attempts to force the officials’ hands in evening up the calls in this period by falling over when a Flame comes within a few feet of his crease. The officials do not take the bait.
3:27 The niftiest little keep by Greener under all kinds of pressure at the point is, of course, rendered moot when the ensuing point shot is clumsily tipped off to the sideboards by Patty. Thanks, Patty. We guess since he got that huge goal in Edmonton, we can’t expect another one for another ten games or so.
3:10 Asham gets tripped while circling in the offensive zone when Primeau gets just the tip of his stick blade under one of his skates. The Devils are momentarily confused that they’re now the team that will have the extra attacker for the next two minutes, instead of the other way around.
1:51 Kipper has to make a good save on a point shot by Madden that could have been trickier if Gio was doing his job standing in front of the net instead of realizing too late that maybe a screen in front would have made that a higher-percentage chance.
0:32 Patty gets called for hooking while pursuing the puck after Madden loses an offensive-zone faceoff. We’ll mention that the Devils have certainly made themselves look all kinds of undisciplined in this one, but in this case, Patty’s got a beef that the Flame went down awfully easily and overdramatically. Boomer takes this opportunity to intone gravely, “The next goal? Is going to be huge.”
0:00 Marty makes a wild, windmilling save after the buzzer on an Aucoin shot, then gets up laughing about it with the official.
We get an interview with Pelley, and Kate the Great, who is not often exposed to hockey players on television, can’t help but say, “That is one pale human being.”
As we gorge ourselves on gingerbread cookies, we discuss which type of cookies to add to the mix tomorrow. Schnookie would like butter cookies, but Kate the Great and Pookie are voting for a double-chocolate snap recipe we found a few years ago. Meanwhile, FSN is showing that feature about the making of that commercial in which Iginla plucks his eyebrows. Yes, we’ve seen that feature a thousand times, and yes, we’ve seen that commercial a thousand times. And no, we have no idea what the commercial is for.
19:35 Langer is busy putting on some shot-blocking heroics on the PK while Doc and Chico tell us more about their visit to Viking, including Doc being very excited that he got to go up in the loft in which the young Sutters used to play barn hockey.
18:31 There are about four Flames and a loose, bouncing puck in front of Marty, but somehow a goal is not scored.
18:04 Mottau clears a loose rebound out from in front of his own goal, then sets the offense up the ice with a crisp pass. Gio makes a great move around a defender and fires a shot that Kipper can’t quite handle clean, but Patty shovels the rebound just wide. The Flames promptly sprint down the other way and Marty makes a leaping-from-his-knees shoulder save, and things wheel up again the other way. We can barely keep up with this pace, guys. Please, show us some consideration.
16:55 We finally get a whistle when the Devils ice the puck after a torrid stretch of end-to-end play.
15:13 Mottau receives the puck on a gorgeous cross-zone feed that turns a two-on-two into a three-on-two, but instead of shooting, he decides to try to add another gorgeous pass to the play. It barely needs to be mentioned, Gentle Reader, that it does not work.
14:27 With Flames falling all over the place behind the play, suddenly the Devils find themselves on a four-on-two with Gio carrying the puck on the wing. No worries, though, Flames fans. Gio shoots wide.
12:36 Elias, Clarkson and Rupp motor in on a long three-on-two, but since Rupp’s the one with the puck, it’s not as exciting as it sounds.
12:08 Kate the Great suggests both goalies tonight are nursing shutouts because neither team is very good offensively. We advise her that Marty is, in fact, playing out of his mind. Kipper, though? Well, no, he hasn’t been called on quite as much.
10:07 Iginla cranks up a giant slapshot just as the metallic hum of the crowd rises to a buzzing fevered pitch, but he manages just to get a huge piece of Madden with the shot instead of breaking the 0-0 tie.
8:50 A misplay at the high point by the Flames turns into a Brylin-Clarkson two-on-one, but the driving-hard-to-follow-up-on-the-rebound part of the play is fruitless.
8:34 We start freaking out when Marty tries to play the puck behind his net and is beaten to it by a forward, but Paulie calms our fears by being the cool head in front of the net, easily breaking up the centering pass.
8:06 Patty proves that he’s no Joe Thornton when his attempt at “The Pass” is not quite in Gio’s wheelhouse. Or even really within three feet of his stick.
6:17 Patty rips a shot netwards, but Doc’s call on the play tells us it’s “calmly blocked down by David Hale.” Pookie: “Guys, come on. This is David Hale.”
4:42 Harvey’ drum-banging and the accompanying “Go Flames Go” horn honking prompts Kate the Great to declare, “I would kill that mascot if I was there.” It’s good to know our sister is of like mind with Craig MacTavish.
2:37 Doc is already talking shootout, but as the Flames begin to threaten again, we find that prospect increasingly unlikely.
1:43 Paulie tries to keep himself plastered to Huselius going after the puck into the corner, and ends up doing a Flying Oduya (in which he sort of spins through the air while flinging his stick around willy-nilly).
1:00 In the middle of a stream of classic, high-paced, frenzied play-by-play call, Doc sets up the PA announcer to let us know there’s a minute left in the game.
0:18 Marty holds fast on the post with Tanguay hammering at the puck in his feet. Chico describes the play as Marty “lowering the garage door.” Pookie: “It’s a good thing Marty’s garage door works better than stately IPB Manor’s. Otherwise it would have gone halfway down and gotten stuck.”
0:00 Doc announces excitedly that the Devils are heading to overtime in a scoreless game for the first time in weeks.
5:00 We get some shots of the Devils bench before the puck drop, and Boomer remarks while Schnookie is looking down, “You really have to wonder what bet Larry lost.” Schnookie glances up and says, “What, to still be stuck working for this team?” No, actually, Boomer was talking about his odd hair color. But still.
4:35 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO THE FUCK WAY! Patty coughs the puck up in the defensive zone, then gets it back when a Flame whiffs on it while trying to move in from the point. He stays on his feet when the Flame swings his stick at the puck and his feet, then sprints down on a two-on-one with Gio. The two back-and-forth two passes, and Patty, being taken down from behind, lasers a gorgeous shot through Kipper’s desperation split, and the Devils win 1-0. And seriously, there is no more adorable goal celebration in hockey than the Devils congratulating Patty when he scores in OT.