Gel-O starts things off tonight with the crushing news that we won’t be seeing Havelid make his Devils debut in this game. And to think, we baked cookies and everything for him. Oh well. We’ll just have to eat all the cookies ourselves.
Doc and Chico lead off, of course, with talk about Marty. Chico: “Martin Brodeur is just a fabulous freak of nature.” Well… yes. The next topic of conversation is the potential trades Brian Burke is going to make with the Leafs. Is it just us, or is Burke the most overrated person in all of hockey?
19:48 The period starts with a Leafs turnover to Shanahan right above the crease. Shanny’s as surprised as everyone else, and fires wide.
19:12 Pookie: “EEEE! It’s definitely time for it to be almost Spring – look what’s on the dashers!” Yup, it’s the “Rrroll Up The Rim” ads!
17:27 The Poppers have a loooong shift working deep in the Toronto zone. Schnookie, somewhat absently, “It’s like the A Line.” Pookie: “Yeah, except I can’t see any of these guys holding out.”
16:29 WOOOOOO? What? Huh? What just happened? Clarkson pounces on a turnover at the blue line, darts up the near wing, goes hard to the net, and whiffs on the puck weakly toward the far post. At the same time, Finger barrels down the center, runs over Toskala, and drives the net off the moorings. After the net has been moved, the puck hits off the far post and ricochets just barely over the line into where the net should have been. And, after a review, it’s ruled a goal, the second time this season that the Devils have benefited from the “if the defender pushes the net off the moorings, the goal still counts” rule. Weird. The money here at stately IPB Manor was that there was no way the call would go our way again. 1-0 Devils.
15:26 White (the Leafs one) randomly whacks Madden in the face with his stick, and the Devils go to the power play.
13:43 Well that’s not how you score on the PP. The Devils give up a shorthanded two-on-one, and Stajan fires his shot off the crossbar.
12:45 In the “I don’t want to lose my job to Havelid”-off, so far we’ve got Greene being the guy on that two-on-one, and now Mottau taking an interference penalty. Advantage Greener.
11:07 We keep saying all kinds of really pithy things about this game, but Schnookie’s too lazy to write them in the diary. Instead, she sprawls on the couch and says, “This isn’t going to be a very interesting game diary.” Pookie: “That’s okay. It’s not a very interesting game so far. All that’s happened has been the goal. That shift by the Poppers. And Rrroll Up The Rim.” Pause. “And not necessarily in that order.”
9:49 We come back from commercial to see black-and-white footage of JP Parise’s one game as a Maple Leaf. It is ridiculously old-looking footage, so much so that Pookie gasps, “What, is this from the 1940s? This looks like a One-Reel Wonder on TCM!”
8:07 The Devils withstand a mild bit of defensive-zone pressure, and then, as the puck clears to the neutral zone, we wonder how many shots the Leafs have so far. We agree on just one, and as we’re cracking jokes about Darcy Tucker and the famous six-shot game from 2000, MSG+ tells us they actually have seven shots in the period. Well poo. We totally disagree.
6:41 Doc: “We haven’t had a shot recorded by either side in the last three minutes.” Pause, as play meanders through center ice. “And we’re waiting on our first crowd reaction.” Burn! And yes, it’s deathly silent at ACC.
4:40 In the head-to-head battle of Zach and Schenn, Zach, not surprisingly, wins. He coolly skates up behind Schenn in front of the Leafs net, taps him on the shoulder, and just yoinks the puck away.
3:00 Gel-O tells us after a commercial that Havelid will be joining the Devils after the game, “and what does that mean for Andy Greene?” Schnookie: “It means ‘Skate harder, Greener!’”
2:56 The crowd is making noise now – Blake has two chances at a wide-open net with Marty sprawling and down-and-out… and somehow Marty keeps the puck out of the goal. The Leafs stand there and think, “Crap. This isn’t the goalie who was playing backup for the Marlies last year anymore, is it?”
0:00 The period ends with Chico talking shutout. Chico, it might not bother Marty, but it bothers us. We get an interview with Clarkson, who claims he “never knew” a goal would count if the net gets knocked off by the D. Because he wasn’t paying attention when Madden scored that way just this season. We forgive him for being vapid, though. Because we’re shallow that way.
We go into a deep blog-crush swoon over TG in his interview with Gel-O. He’s so dreamy.
16:38 With the club seat fans still up and about elsewhere in the building, it seems even more dead at ACC. This game is shaping up to be a real doozy.
16:17 We get footage of Terry Sawchuk’s 100th shutout, and, interestingly, it was March 4, 1967, in Toronto. Creepy! Or just almost coincidental. One or the other.
15:28 Oh, we should mention that Gel-O’s been giving us a running countdown of all the players who are being scratched by their teams tonight, presumably in anticipation of them being traded. Because this trade deadline is already not stupid and boring enough, now everyone’s doing the Butthead thing. Including the Caps with Nylander, which makes us wonder what GM is stupid enough to trade for Nylander and his shitty contract.
14:24 Greener tries to best Mottau again by drawing a hooking penalty to Kulemin. Meanwhile, MSG+ has just informed us that Marty is one of just two goalies in NHL history to record two shutouts in their first three games back after missing 60+ days. In case you’re keeping track, the other is Sawchuk. Creepy! and/or coincidental!
12:51 Greene tries to pass point-to-point along the blue line and ends up muffing the play and passing the puck out of the zone. Mottau chuckles with glee on the bench.
12:05 The consensus at stately IPB Manor tonight is that the Devils look like they don’t think they’re going to have to try hard to win this game. Pookie: “And I might need another cookie to help me deal with this.”
10:04 The Zubrus/Gio/Patty line does its best Poppers impersonation, but finally fails to convert on a loose puck lying in the crease. Pookie: “This is Toskala, Zubrus. Not Junior Pairs ’82.”
9:33 Zach is never going to score again. And he’s spending too much time with Patty. He digs the puck out of a pile-up in front of the net, flat-out misses the gaping maw of net in front of him, then stands there in stationary disgust, rolling his head and staring up at the ceiling, while his linemates are like, “Dude, play’s still going on.”
7:28 The Devils finally manage to clear the zone after a shift that involves a running count on our parts of turnovers below the faceoff dots by Devils D-men in their own zone. It got to six. Greene probably makes a point of insisting to Sutter that it was the Iron Boar committing all those turnovers and not him. Pookie: “This proves we can’t play without Havelid.”
4:36 This game is making us want to kill ourselves. Pookie: “It’s like Larionov Bucks night.” Pause. “But if we want the Devils to fly under the radar again, I guess they’re going to have to keep playing like this.” Boomer: “But last night you were all, ‘Everything’s great! I love hockey!’” Pookie: “Yeah, well… what have you done for me lately?”
4:31 We come back from commercial to see Lou and Burke talking. NOOOOOOOO!!! Lou, look away!!!
3:58 Greene and the Iron Boar are out again, pinned in their own zone. Schnookie: “Is Paulie hurt again?”
3:25 Pookie, as Toskala freezes the puck on a rink-length dump-in: “This game is almost as boring as the Islanders/Avs one last night.” Just then, MSG+ cuts away to show us the honored numbers hanging from the ACC rafters, and Chico tells us that Devils fans should remember Dougie Gilmour from his tenure in Jersey. Pookie: “WHY ARE THEY TRYING TO MAKE THIS GAME WORSE?”
1:11 We are grousing that the Poppers and Paulie seem not to be on the ice ever tonight, and Pookie posits that Sutter’s trying to effectively bench Zach, to make everyone think he’s getting traded. Zach then takes the ice and tries to beat two defensemen by his lonesome, but gets easily muscled off the puck by Ian White. And as the play unfolds, Boomer wonders aloud what the Devils could jokingly be getting for Zach; Pookie: “Maybe a forward with some size.”
0:00 Not a period for the ages, this one. And to drive that point home, our interview now is with Blobby. This is TERRIBLE!
We get an interview with Lou. He’s so dreamy!
19:55 Doc informs us, as the period gets under way, that we’ve had no scoring for “at least an hour and a half.” Yeah, the first hour felt like three days, and the second half-hour felt like…
19:05 Whitey trips Stempniak at the blue line. Chico tries to argue against the penalty, but even he hasn’t brought his A game tonight, so he quickly gives up.
18:49 Kulemin picks the Iron Boar after a draw in Marty’s zone, and the Leaf PP is history.
18:21 Paulie gets the puck caught up in a fallen stick at center ice, and the Leafs chug into the Devils zone on a breakaway. Paulie chugs after, and then makes a diving-from-behind play to push the puck off the Leaf’s stick. Pookie: “Paulie’s like, ‘Who needs Niedermayer?’” Pause. “’Because I can have my head in the clouds just as much as he does!’”
17:28 Well, that was inevitable. As the Devils stand around their own zone wondering when the win is handed to them, Blake feeds Mitchell on the doorstep, and it’s a 1-1 game.
16:02 The Leafs continue to pin the Devils in their own zone. Pookie: “This isn’t going to happen when we have Havelid. He’s our Hart and heart.” Schnookie: “Yup. He’s our True Savior. It’s not too early to say that.”
15:02 Oh goody. Another Devils PP.
14:39 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Well that was an emphatic and pissy PP! After Travis is cruelly bested by Toskala on a point-blank chance, the Devils start getting serious about whipping around some sexy passes, and then Patty blasts home a shot from above the faceoff dot. 2-1 Devils, and the ACC PA announcer sounds just like the guy who does the Westminster Kennel Club show at MSG.
13:58 Gio has an “it was the best of time, it was the worst of time” chance, where he awesomely skates out from the corner and gets around Toskala, but then he lamely isn’t able to backhand the puck into the open side of the net. He’s fired.
11:28 The lethal pairing of the Madden/Holik/Pando line with the Iron Boar/Greener d-pairing leads to another lengthy shift in the Devils zone, and then a penalty to the Iron Boar. We hate when these guys are on the ice tonight. Pookie: “The Iron Boar is just nervous that he’s going to lose his job to the Iron Hart. Or rather, Iron Bunny.” Schnookie: “A hart is a deer.” Pookie and Boomer: “No, it’s a rabbit.”
10:01 Schnookie: “It’s a deer.” Boomer: “What’s a male rabbit?” Schnookie: “A hare?” Boomer: “It’s one letter.” Meanwhile, this Leafs PP is a shooting gallery.
9:20 Mottau takes a penalty as soon as the Devils get back to even strength.
9:15 Mitchell scores basically right off the draw, on a ricochet of a Kubina point shot off Paulie’s shinpad. 2-2 game. Meanwhile, Pookie has discovered that a male llama is called a Macho. We quickly try to determine which Devil should be called the Iron Macho. Certainly not any one in the lineup tonight. That means it’s Havelid, Rupp, or Leach.
8:01 Clarkson has a wide open – and we mean wide open — net on a bad rebound from Toskala, but stupid Finger ties up his stick at the last minute. We liked Finger a lot more back when he was essentially putting the puck into his own net.
6:48 Ponikarovsky tries to haul Paulie down in the corner to Marty’s right, and as the two of them go down, Ponikarovsky impales himself on Paulie’s stick. Both guys look for penalties, and neither gets rewarded.
5:02 Patty is apparently now a mere six points from the all-time Devils point lead. Not that everyone in the NHL cares about that the way they did about Iginla and the Flames’ record.
4:32 Chico informs us this game is going to overtime. Okay. Can we then not bother with these last four and a half minutes?
3:30 Paulie took a slash on his hand while ragging the puck, and now we’re all in a panic that the Leafs have broken them. Not that we didn’t already hate this misbegotten franchise, but that only makes it worse.
2:49 Mottau passes the puck to Grabovski right inside the Devils blue line, and a frantic series of shots follows. On the bench, Greene chortles with delight. Behind the bench, Sutter wonders if maybe Lou isn’t going to trade for another d-man.
0:31 We get one last awesome shift from the Poppers, but no goal.
0:00 So Chico was right. Overtime it is.
4:23 Marty makes the first big save of OT. No surprise there, that the Devils are all just standing around.
4:02 GAAAAAAHHH! Zach! Mottau throws a shot on net after a Leafs turnover, and Zach is right there on the doorstep to whack at the not-quite-covered puck behind Toskala, but to no avail. He is never going to score again.
3:23 Chico begins to wonder whether Kaberle has played lately. Doc counts players on the Leafs bench and comes up with a full roster, and so the intrigue is defused for the time being.
2:29 Firewagon hockey, anyone?
0:12 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That was INSANE! After relentless pressure from the Leafs, all of a sudden Gio and Oduya are flying up the other way on a two-on-one, and as the clock is winding down, Gio’s shot trickles over Toskala’s glove, and then Oduya is there crashing the net to slam the puck home. 3-2 Devils!