In Search of Lord Stanley

An epic journey into the frozen heart of hockey

Game recap: Penguins/Devils. Final score 3-1 Devils.

Well. That sucked.

The New Jersey Devils have inspired disgust and frustration among rival fans since the day Martin Brodeur lifted himself out of the primordial ooze and fashioned his first goalie mask from a giant trilobite skeleton in the Time Before Time. Today he earned his 1,200th 120,000,000th career start. I would congratulate him if I weren’t blinded by sheer, unmitigated hatred as both a Pens and a Rangers fan.

Despite my vision being somewhat impaired by my above-mentioned hatred, here’s what I saw as the Pens took on New Jersey in the first game of a home-and-home series:

1st period

Pascal Dupuis was arguably our best player for the first 20 minutes, battling all over the ice and creating chances. However, there is a bit of foreshadowing when he gets sent to the box after his best shift of the period for an elbow to the head that looked about 50% accidental and 50% dickish. The Devils go on the power play, but we kill this one nicely. THIS ONE.

New Jersey starts building steam by the end of the 1st, and while we didn’t look bad, there was a worrying lack of action from our offense. It was difficult to tell if this was because of the Devils predictable success in playing defense, or because we just weren’t taking it to them enough. Probably a bit of both. 

We make it out of the 1st leading 1-0 off a goal attributed to Sutter. At one point before the period ends, the announcer gleefully exclaims “Between these two teams, there’s a lot of dislike! Maybe even hatred!” I raise an eyebrow or two.

2nd period

Stefan Matteau scores after being left completely open at the far post, shitting on me as both a Rangers and a Pens fan. My happy memories of 1994 are now tainted. What must his father think? Tie game.

Martin effing Brodeur uses some moves he picked up in his latest break dance battle with Satan as he watches the puck glide ever so smoothly along the goal line— without going in— in the most GIF-ready sequence of events that has ever occurred during a hockey game or elsewhere on earth. Replays are inconclusive but it appears the puck was prevented from crossing the line by an invisible force field emanating upward through the ice straight from the depths of hell. This is when it begins to look like this might become a very frustrating afternoon.

The 2nd comes to a close knotted up at one apiece. Geno has some good looks this period, and despite our inability to find an equalizer thanks in part to the hand of the actual devil, it looks like we’re still in this one. Unfortunately looks can be deceiving. Storm clouds are gathering on the horizon.

3rd period

Have you ever witnessed a full-fledged toddler meltdown at the grocery store? You see a poor kid who has tried so hard all afternoon to be good and listen to directions, but then suddenly he reaches the end of his patience and becomes a spiteful little whirlwind of kicks and screams and hair pulling. That was the Pens in the third. Dan Bylsma could only look on in horror like a frustrated parent as our discipline became a tiny speck in the rearview mirror. Of our stroller.

This entire period was essentially one long penalty kill. That’s all there is to say, really. At one point during the third, Satan’s presence became so strong that dead angels started plummeting down from heaven and onto the ice.

Oh, speaking of killing penalties, you know Kris Letang? YEAH HE’S STILL NOT BACK.

The game ends at 3-1 after the Devils happily take advantage of two of the opportunities we so generously delivered to their doorstep. Ugh. It burns.

In the end, the Devils and their uniquely infuriating brand of anti-hockey shut down our offense, and we aided them in their cause by totally losing our self-control and gifting them 1,001 power plays.

We should be pissed at ourselves. If we’re smart, we’ll use our anger to motivate us for the rematch at home tomorrow. Here’s hoping that we can wipe off our runny noses, put on our big boy pants, and battle intelligently for an entire 60 minutes.

Cheers, and thanks for reading.

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