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Where is our Devil blogger

March 20, 2008   ·     ·   Jump to comments

Rookie Nigel Dawes finds winning scoring touch as he moves in on Devil goalie Martin Brodeur giving his team a well earned 2-1 comeback shootout victory in Newark last night. 

AP Photo Courtesy Getty Images by Bruce Bennett 

Hey Steve. Ole buddy old pal. Where are you?!?!?!?!?! Good god. Where can he be? Hopefully, highly intoxicated at his dorm or at home cause that’s right. It’s Spring Break. He should be out partying his ass off! Or maybe Lepore just can’t believe his beloved Devils didn’t win again in what’s suddenly become a role reversal favoring the other side of the Hudson.

I hope you drank up cause you certainly weren’t to be found on the NYHR earlier! ;)  Well, if I were a Dev fan, I’d be pretty ticked off too. Especially when their team came out very hungry and clinged to a one-goal lead for seemingly ever until Mr. Clutch Chris Drury does what he does scoring a big goal for his team-leading 23rd with a shade under five minutes left in regulation.

So, how did it the latest tough defeat to their bitter Hudson rivals begin to turn? Well, one could point to the goalie who clearly is in the Devils’ heads. The one who somehow didn’t get tabbed one of the game’s three stars even though it was two of his clutch stops which prevented the Devs from getting just enough cushion to walk away with a ‘W.’

Yes. Henrik Lundqvist earned his money tonight with pivotal stops on Zach Parise and Mike Mottau early in the third which allowed his team to stay within striking distance. Without those timely saves on what wasn’t a busy night for either franchise goalie including the game’s top star Marty Brodeur (20 saves), the Blueshirts don’t comeback to win or even get a point because that’s how tightly contested it was.

This was old school clutch and grab hockey with the new BHL (Bettman Hockey League) rules tossed out. How else can you expect Sean Avery to get away with an innocent stick too close to David Clarkson’s mug before the drop of the puck in the middle stanza? Oh. There’s definitely no love lost between those two. Especially with Avery’s pre-game antics back in October and Clarkson’s late cheap hit on Michal Rozsival early on which resulted in one of the more entertaining portions of the game- a whale of a scrap between the combatants going toe to toe despite Clarkson towering over Avery and getting the decision. Why Avery would continue to stand in there and not let the refs break it up had to be pride. To the Irishman’s credit, he cameback strong in the second half.

I guess I just admired Avery for not backing down and standing up for a fallen teammate on what on most nights is a minor penalty. But this wasn’t most nights. Especially when these two teams get together. It’s a given it will be close. There’s really not much difference in terms of style as both play detail oriented systems relying on their star netminders to make timely stops.

Perhaps the Rangers have a little more balance up front where they can send out three scoring lines to the Devs’ two and a half. Even if top scorer Patrik Elias missed last night, give Brent Sutter plenty of credit for constructing a big line of Michael Rupp, Dainius Zubrus and Clarkson as the trio injected energy by hitting and even tallying their team’s lone goal via a power play. Yes. An actual POWER PLAY GOAL was scored by the Devils against the Rangers! Zubrus put home a nice Rupp setup for the resurgent forward’s third in the last three.

That like hadn’t happened in ages. They were something like 0 for their last 32. The Ranger PK is good but how’s that even possible?

As for the Ranger PP, haha. That’s another story altogether. They just totally SUCKED. With the exception of a great setup from Marty owner Nigel Dawes where Fedor Tyutin hit not one but two posts with Mr. Boo Scott Gomez just missing on the rebound, it was the Ranger man-ad disadvantage.

For a game which only had a combined 39 shots with the Rangers holding a 21-18 edge, the goalies each made a few enormous saves. No. Neither had to stand on their head but both were good when needed. Brodeur stonewalled Marty Straka on a clean breakaway getting the paddle on his low shot. He also had to dive across to stop a chance off D-man Colin White.

Lundqvist stopped Mottau’s right point try with Clarkson screening early in the third and then flat out robbed Parise on a great Brian Gionta setup during a NJ power play.

Drury’s tying marker with 4:46 left came off great hustle by Ryan Callahan, who beat NJ defenders behind the net before walking out and finding the open centerman, who made no mistake burying it and emphatically pumping his fist.

The four-on-four in overtime was just as carefully played as regulation forcing a predictable shootout. In it, only Dawes would tally when he faked a shot and froze Brodeur before going five-hole.

Lundqvist stopped Devil shooters Jamie Langenbrunner (left pad), Gionta (left pad) and Parise (right pad forcing Zach’s forehand deke off).

From our vantage point at least, it seemed that Lundqvist had the Devils three big shooters beaten as all three didn’t really do what you’d expect. Both Langenbrunner and Gionta usually deke but each tried wrist shots low which Henrik stopped without a problem. Parise kind of hesitated before his forehand deke left him little angle making it an easy stop for Lundqvist improving him to 6-0 vs the Devs this season.

It’s the first time the Rangers have won six straight over New Jersey since that year. Let’s not say anymore.

Gotta love the postgame reaction of Brodeur. Either he’s really a sore loser or just needs a few drinks to cool off.

“Well, he missed the shot. (OH REALLY) He was going to shoot it, I think low blocker and it kind of hit and went off his heel low. My stick was off the ice because I was reading something else.”

Maybe Brodeur has been listening to too much Chico Resch cause this was about as lame an excuse as the future Hall of Famer could make. He got beat by a great move. But because Nigel’s a Ranger, the normally unflappable veteran goalie couldn’t give the 23 year-old rookie credit. We get it Marty. You can’t stand the fact that Nigel’s had your number all season (four early goals before evolving into a reliable regular).

We get that you can’t stand losing to the Rangers. Well, buddy. Keep singing your tune about having more points because it won’t mean anything if your team loses to them in say the Eastern Conference Semifinals. I’m going on record as saying if they were to meet, I like the Rangers’ chances.

I also guaranteed victory last night to Steve. That’s how confident I was. I just feel if they play their game, they’re the better team no matter what comes out of Brodeur’s mouth. They match up this time. I’m more concerned with the Habs, Pens and Senators because those are more likely opponents as are the Southeast-leading Hurricanes.

The Devs likely will hang on and win the Atlantic and either be a 1 or 2 seed. Figure the Rangers to be anything from a 4 to the 6 they currently are. If the scenario plays out that way, both teams will have to win their first round to even contemplate a playoff series.

As for Dawes who improved to four-for-six in the skill competition and has become the new Ranger version of The Closer, the Manitoban whose game is looking more and more like Gionta’s everyday had a chuckle:

“I might not have gotten as much on it as I wanted to, but my intention was to go 5-hole. I wanted to try to get him to freeze a little bit, and I got him with a good fake. Then I wanted to get him as he was trying to reset.”

It’s been replayed enough times already and that’s exactly what it looked like. He faked shot by pumping the leg and froze Brodeur, then fired between the legs.

A great move and finish by a poised kid.

Too bad such an admirable guy couldn’t show a little in the post-game. Well, they meet again at MSG next week. See ya there!

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  1. Blog Jocky » Blog Archive » Where is our Devil blogger on March 20th, 2008 2:04 am

    [...] LCH wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptAP Photo Courtesy Getty Images by Bruce Bennett. Hey Steve. Ole buddy old pal. Where are you?!?!?!?!?! Good god. Where can he be? Hopefully, highly intoxicated at his dorm or at home cause that’s right. It’s Spring Break. … [...]

  2. Hockey News Aggregator » Where is our Devil blogger on March 20th, 2008 2:26 am

    [...] Original post here [...]

  3. Where is our Devil blogger | Create a Blog on March 20th, 2008 2:30 pm

    [...] LCH wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptAP Photo Courtesy Getty Images by Bruce Bennett. Hey Steve. Ole buddy old pal. Where are you?!?!?!?!?! Good god. Where can he be? Hopefully, highly intoxicated at his dorm or at home cause that’s right. It’s Spring Break. … [...]

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