Aw, bummer. No Paulie tonight again. Gel-O kicks off our game by telling us it’s the same line-up as Sunday’s, and if that lineup could beat San Jose 6-5, we can only assume they’ll mop the ice with the Panthers. Right? Right?
17:37 We’re busy talking about how many points it’s going to take to get into the playoffs in the EC this year, and kind of aren’t paying attention to the game really. It seems we have foggy memories of Langer not scoring on a great chance, but the first two and a half minutes have been a blur.
15:42 Okay, anyone who says that Clemmer has good rebound control is on drugs. The Devils give the Panthers a point shot, and Clemmer fumbles the rebound to Weiss, who is undefended in the slot. Weiss gets a week to turn and fire the puck past a now panicky Clemmer, and it’s 1-0 Panthers. We suddenly realize this is probably a major let-down game.
14:47 Schnookie, slightly tipsy still from dinner: “Oooh. Do you suppose Clemmers’ ‘turning back into a pumpkin’-ness is worse now because he’s on a road trip with Marty?” Pookie: “I hadn’t thought of that! Weekes is like, ‘AWK-ward!’”
11:44 Doc and Chico inform us that if the playoffs started tonight, this would be our first-round matchup. Hm. That makes the fact that the Devils don’t look like they’re going to score tonight look that much more ominous.
10:41 Clemmer turns the puck over to a forechecking Panther by whiffing twice on a no-pressure tap-the-puck-to-a-d-man play, and Boomer’s head explodes. Marty needs to come back soon, because she can’t take much more of this.
9:43 The Panthers get a mini two-on-one, and it is only a failure by the trailing Florida guy following up on the play that keeps the brilliant rebound control from ending up in the back of the Devils’ net. But, um, he’s really good, that Clemmensen guy. The Flyers should totally make him their number 1 next season.
8:04 Pookie, watching the Devils blunder around the Florida zone and then the neutral zone: “I don’t think we’re going to win tonight.” Schnookie: “I don’t think we’re going to score tonight.” Pause. “Top that.” Pookie: “Uhhh…”
7:10 MSG+ gives us a graphic screen that says the Devils are 27-7-0 against the Panthers since the 2000 first-round sweep. Schnookie: “No wonder I’ve always thought of them as our get-well team.” Pookie: “What happens if we’re already well? What then?”
5:54 Zach pounces on a turned-over puck behind the Florida net, and a flurry of amazing scoring chances that go un-scored-on follows. That is what happens when the Devils are already well and play their get-well team, apparently.
1:51 The scorched earth PP takes the ice…
0:43 …and Travis blows it by skating near a Panther who is falling over, and gets called for tripping. Poor Travis. He always seems to be getting caught on complete, utter, bullshit, the-official-really-wasn’t-paying-very-close-attention penalties.
0:00 We may have been distracted by other things during this period, so our assessment of it comes down to this: the clock has struck midnight on Clemmer. As the Devils skate off the ice, Pookie snarls, “I dunno, Clemmer. Your stem and spiky vine are showing.” (She didn’t mean that in a dirty way! Pumpkins have very spiky vines!) Boomer: “And your seedy interior.” (They have seedy interiors, too, but everyone knows that, right?)
MSG+ has a feature to remind us, in case we’ve forgotten, that the Devils’ season has been marked by a surprisingly good performance in Marty’s stead. No, we hadn’t forgotten either. (Hilariously, the feature includes interview footage of Weekesie going on about how great Marty is, and then Clemmer going on about how great Clemmer is.)
For reasons we can’t entirely understand, we have been having a fevered debate this evening about what size a Tastykake is. Boomer thinks five inches. Schnookie thinks closer to three. We find the specs for a Twinkie online, and it turns out to be 9.9 cm, or roughly 3.9 inches. HA! Schnookie wins! (Not that Twinkies are Tastykakes, but they’re a reasonably close facsimile, right? We… don’t often come in close contact with that oeuvre of foodstuff.)
17:23 Dude, the Devils are not going to score tonight. Dumbass Blobby gets a great scoring chance skating around Vokoun on the rush, and ends up shooting the puck out through the crease and the other way up the ice. Chico then shows us replays of this rush and a prior one by Zach; he says that the latter shows “the majesty” that is Zach Parise and the former would have been a goal if Pando had gotten to the goal mouth following up on the rush a little faster. PandoNation aims its sternest death glares at the TV. (We should mention that there is a Panther penalty on the Blobby rush.)
15:15 The Devils get an opportunity to hammer away at a loose puck at the side of the Panther net, but to no avail. We’re too busy looking at the Tastykake website to really mind too much. Apparently, if you like their “Juniors”, you can order a case of 24 individually wrapped kakes for $37.99. Pookie: “Schlittsy’s got his calculator out and is saying, ‘Those aren’t the numbers I’m getting…’”
11:27 Zach is motoring quite hard tonight, so after another good shot that Vokoun shuts down, we get a long look at a loogie-hocking Zach on the bench. Pookie: “I’m concerned about the soul patch he seems to be growing.” Pause. “I’m not concerned about a lack of secondary scoring. I’m concerned about Zach’s possible soul patch.”
10:26 The Panthers have no shots yet this period, which means the next one’s going in.
10:10 The Iron Boar takes a penalty for something. We are being terrible diarizers tonight, but the Tastykake website is just so fascinating! Doc is also not entirely engaged; during the stoppage after the penalty call, the arena is pumping insanely loud music, and he grouses that it’s inordinately loud, so much so that it’s making their table vibrate. “Of course, I’m from the William of Orange period,” he laughs, as he admits he’s probably just being a crotchety old man. It’s okay, Doc – we think the music’s too loud at most arenas, too. In fact, that’s one of the reasons we don’t enjoy going to live games very often.
8:33 Nice rebound control, Clemmer! And great coverage down low, PKers! Chico tries to say that Clemmer handles the rebound on a long shot perfectly and it was passed by a Devils defender directly to a Panther on the doorstep, but replay shows the goal is scored thanks to Clemmer putting the rebound right on a Panther’s stick, and that Panther then passes the puck to the open guy on the doorstep. 2-0 Panthers, and do we hear Marty cackling with glee somewhere? Or are we just projecting?
5:44 Barf. The Devils are now all thinking of Tastykakes, too, and decide, to a man, to stop playing defense, and the expected happens. 3-0 Panthers, and Boomer says, “For them not having any shots in the second period, they’re doing pretty well.”
4:03 On some planets we’d be excited that the Panthers have just taken a truly moronic holding penalty against Gio while he was skating through the neutral zone, but this is not one of those planets.
3:55 We’re now reading the Hostess website. On their FAQ page, they explain that yes, you can freeze Hostess snacks, but “the packaging is not designed for freezing. We recommend putting your treats in a freezer bag first.” Schnookie: “That’s sound advice for any treats.”
1:56 After Clemmer manages to successfully stop a shorthanded rush, Schnookie declares, “You know what? If I was going to freeze this game, I would not put it in a freezer bag first.” Pookie: “No. Because it’s the opposite of a treat.”
During this intermission we take a stroll through the latest NHL news and notes with Gel-O. It’s all quite thrilling.
20:00 Before the puck drops, Chico tells us he was just talking to Paulie (who seems to think the Devils are playing well tonight, but just not getting breaks. Typical). Schnookie: “He talked to Paulie?” Pookie: “Why can’t we talk to Paulie?”
18:22 Chico says the Devils are working hard, but Pookie retorts, “Paulie says they’re hardly working.” Nope, nothing’s too low-hanging a fruit for us.
15:42 Chico tries to tell us that the Panthers are getting away with all kinds of uncalled penalties tonight. We don’t think that’s what’s causing the difference.
15:35 Zubrus hog ties and hauls down Horton, and Chico tells us Horton took a dive, and it’s totally unfair because Zubrus was tripped at the other end of the ice just moments earlier, but now he’s an innocent man stuck in the penalty box. Replay suggests otherwise.
12:45 We come back from commercial to see that sponsor feature where they show off what an HD picture looks like (it’s obviously money well spent by whichever sponsor’s doing it, because we have no idea who it’s for), and the video footage isn’t game highlights – it’s Chuck the Duck! Tooling around a roller hockey rink on a remote controlled car! And then driving into a goal, so Chico gets to say Chuck’s done something today that the Devils haven’t, and they need to take a page out of his book with the speed and finish. Chuck the Duck’s so dreamy.
11:05 Clarkson draws a holding penalty in the far corner. Replay shows Horton put a hand on Clarkson, and Clarkson toppled over like Doug Dorsey skating for the first time with toe picks. Chico politely refrains from grousing about what a lame-assed dive that was, and how it was very much like the lame-assed Panthers dives from earlier this evening.
5:37 The Devils, continuing to look like they’re not really a threat to accomplish anything good tonight, get another power play, and Sutter pulls Clemmer for the extra attacker. Boomer: “Why not? We’ve been playing with an empty net all night.”
4:58 A Panther gets the puck on the near wing, darts toward the empty net, and Langer trips him just inside the Devils blue line. It’s not called a goal, though, and Langer just goes to the box for a tripping minor. Clemmer gets back into the net, and not even interestingly on the fly or anything.
2:54 Just as the Panthers are scoring their fourth goal, Doc is saying, “If you’re a Devils fan, there’s just not much to say about this one.” Pookie: “That’s our cue to stop diarizing!” Schnookie: “Huh? I wasn’t listening. What did he say?” 4-0 Panthers.
0:00 This game was utterly wretched.