Saturday, October 20, 2007


Devils 3 - NY Islanders 4, OT

Apologies for the lack of recent content. I was yelling and jumping and hoping and worrying and euphoric in Piscataway, New Jersey when the Rutgers Scarlet Knights defeated the #2 University of South Florida Bulls 30-27. So I missed the Devils-Flyers game from Thursday. From the accounts of Patricia Greuter, Hal Stern, Jeremy Kenter, and others who have told me about it, I don't think there's anything more than I can say. At least, there isn't anything that isn't profane I can say about it. So I didn't.

Anyway, tonight should be interesting to say the least. This where I say that Martin Brodeur will likely have a big game because he usually bounces back well after bad games. But that's not true. Per Tom Gulitti's Fire & Ice, Kevin Weekes will get the start tonight. However, also per Gulitti, that may be the only change - tonight's lineup should be similar if not exactly the same as it has been in the last two games. In either case, I still think Karel Rachunek should stay far, far away from penalty killing duty; and the defense as a whole needs to be a lot better than it has been. But I think anyone who has been watching the Devils so far this season pretty much knows that already. Previews for tonight's game have been made by Joe Betchel, Jeremy Kenter, and Steve at Battle of NY.

Me? I'm going to attempt at a live-blog of this game if only because I always wanted to try it. For an experienced live-blog, 2 Man Advantage is your place to go.

7:00 PM: The game is just about to begin, my TV is set to FSNY because I haven't switched to the Devils feed yet so I have the Islanders feed to start. Brent Sutter returns to Long Island, where he was a captain for the franchise in the past. As does Aaron Asham where he was, uh, a fourth liner. Bill Guerin faces off with his former team as the current captain. The Islanders found success by pinching Bryan Berard and Chris Campoli and having them jump up on offense. Good luck to the Devils in the hopes that they can exploit that. For what it's worth, the Isles announcers say the forwards to watch from NJ are Zach Parise (fair) and John Madden (really).

7:07 PM: Found the Devils feed. Steve Cangelosi is more familiar than Deb Kaufman, though I prefer Deb (sorry Steve). Daneyko believes tonight could be a goaltender's duel (Weekes vs. DiPietro, I can dig that) and that the team needs to shore up the defense. Daneyko also likes Elias on the point of the power play - perhaps we'll see more of that tonight. Perhaps we'll see a game soon to satiate my impatience. Start!

7:11 PM: Finally! Wow, are the Islanders jerseys ugly on the ice. Too busy. And the Devils win the crucial opening faceoff! And wow, the Devils get the first scoring chance! Then the Isles! Then the Devils It's already back-and-forth hockey and it's not even a minute in!

7:12 PM: WOW! The forecheck is successful, Zach Parise looks pass, throws it at the net, and it's underneath the crossbar and in! 1-0 NJ! Whoo and all that!

7:13 PM: Miroslav Satan on the Islanders' third line? Um, interesting move.

7:16 PM: And we see Campoli act as a surrogate left winger on that last rush. Yep, the Islanders are going to use some of their defenseman to jump up on the offense. Again, I hope the Devils adjust for that to A) stop them and B) strike back while the d-man is too busy rushing back.

7:20 PM: First commercial break and the Devils are looking good. They look crisp, they look fresh, they are succeeding on the forecheck, and they are doing well at stopping the Islanders from getting good looks on Weekes. Hopefully, they won't be like a can of soda in that it's great when you just get it from the machine but becomes flat about and hour and a half later when left out of the confines of a cool machine. Yes, I am saying it: Don't be like soda, Devils.

7:24 PM: The Islanders prove once again that a great way to disappoint the home crowd is to go offside in the middle of a 3-on-2 offensive rush. Poor Isles fans.

7:28 PM: Another commercial break and a promo for Tuesday's events on Versus. A half-hour interview with Sidney Crosby (with a 70% chance of LOLs for IPB Irregulars) before the Penguins-NY Rangers game. More importantly, Steve Cangelosi is reporting that Lou has that Jamie Langenbrunner is skating on his own now. Excellent.

7:31 PM: Dang. The Devils take the first infraction of the game. Andy Greene caught holding an Isle. Good luck Devils PK unit, you need it.

7:34 PM: My goodness, they killed a penalty!! Apologies, it's just that such a thing isn't common with this team so far this season. Take every little victory so far. (Mini-note: Was that the first Monty Python reference of the season from Doc & Chico?)

7:42 PM: Eep. Mike Comrie comes quite close but hits the goaltender's best friend, the pipe. To be fair, that was the most dangerous the Islanders have been all period. Hopefully, the Devils will dull any momentum that shot may have given to NY.

7:43 PM: Hope answered. Two Islanders run into each other, Asham misses on a slapshot, and along the way, the Islanders take a penalty late in the period. Isles are good on the PK so far, but hopefully - theres that word yet again, I'm a hopeful fan, I can't help it! - the Devils can break through.

7:47 PM: End of the first period and nearly the end of the power play. The Devils are definitely looking good so far with the lead and with how they are playing. This is how it's supposed to be with the new system. The high-pressure forecheck is causing the Islanders to make bad passes and turn over the puck. The Devils are playing a tight checking defense to much success, stopping the Islanders from generating any consistent offense. This is great. But the Devils cannot just keep it up. The Islanders will most likely adjust their game to turn the game around. It will be up to Sutter and the players to recognize any adjustments and respond accordingly.

8:09 PM: Great, I go out to get something to drink and not only do I miss the start of the second period, I just arrived to see the Islanders get an equalizer. It's 1-1, no thanks to Josef Vasicek. Now it is time for the Devils to respond. No, being hit hard by Chris Simon isn't the response, Karel Rachunek.

8:12 PM: NO, the response is NOT to let Miroslav Satan power through Paul Martin into the slot, dangle the puck wide, and put it past Kevin Weekes. 2-1 Islanders and now is the time to be concerned. The Islanders have adjusted their game, now the Devils have to re-adjust themselves to fight back.

8:20 PM: The Devils didn't need an hour and a half to go flat; they have done it much faster than that.
The Islanders are now looking good with 10 minutes left in the period; and the Devils need to start stopping the Islanders on defense and/or start generating more offense on their own. Otherwise, this could get a lot worse before it can get better for New Jersey.

8:24 PM: Karel Rachunek will go to the shame box for 2 minutes. I believe it's a hook because it was a big, obvious, and incredibly stupid hook on Bill Guerin. This PK will be huge and so I worry because the PK has not been kind for the Devils so far this season.

8:27 PM: PK failed. Shot from the point hits the crossbar, drops down, and the Islanders put the loose puck home. Why Mottau didn't do all he could to smother puck is beyond me (why not Weekes? Well, it was behind Weekes, I believe.) Doesn't matter, it's 3-1 Islanders. 13 shots to 2 for the Islanders. Yep, the Islanders are now clearly dominating.

8:30 PM: And the Devils finally get something going their way. Satan trips up a Devil and that's 2 minutes in the shame box for him. A big power play for NJ here - a goal puts them right back into the groove of this game. And right as I typed that, DiPietro robs Jay Pandolfo on a rebound. Also, Pandolfo is on the power play?

8:34 PM: Since you didn't see any signs of success, it's safe to say the Devils didn't do it. But they aren't being as dominated as the period is winding down. Still, the Devils need to turn this game around and turn it around it fast. A 2 goal deficit against a top goalie like DiPietro and a team that's now playing well is a very difficult task.

8:41 PM: Sutter has mixed up the lines as the period winds down, the Islanders commit an infraction. Short of a quick strike, the Devils will start the third period with a man advantage. They don't get it, but a man advantage is good. They need all the advantages they can get if they want to get back into this game. The second has been very poor for the Devils, a sharp contrast - if not an exact opposite - of the first period. The Devils have a lot to do to try and get two points out of it. Hopefully - there's that word again - they can get it done.

8:48 PM: In lieu of a meaningful intermission, I would like to suggest some live power metal from YouTube: Dragonforce playing Revolution Deathsquad. Yes, they do have a bassist.

8:59 PM: Patrik Elias only had 6 shifts that period? Maybe that's why the offense sputtered. By that logic, maybe Sutter will bench some defensemen to send the message of...something, I'm not sure. Speaking of things I'm not sure about, how come FSNY/FSNY2 has so much trouble with their clocks on their graphics?

9:02 PM: JAY PANDOLFO IS THE GOAL SCORING MACHINE!! He just gets one with a floater that goes up over Rick DiPietro and just under the crossbar. Chico says it was just a wicked shot. Any Pandolfo shot that goes in is wicked, if you ask me. Now that was a response! 3-2, let's go Devils!

9:05 PM: Rod Pelley assisted on Pandolfo's goal (along with Brylin). That was Pelley's first point in the NHL, congratulations to him.

9:06 PM: How did Comrie miss that!? I'm glad he did, but that should have been the Isles' fourth.

9:08 PM: Fun fact: Pandolfo's goal is his third of the season. At this rate, Pandolfo will have 30 goals this season. I love ridiculous early-season stat extrapolation.

9:09 PM: Madden on a breakaway and the shot is tipped over the bar! So close! But the Devils are looking a lot better so far this period. Keep on attacking!

9:14 PM: Gionta's stick catches Comrie's face and it drew blood. Intention doesn't matter; that's a double minor. I know the puck was in the air, but the stick has to be controlled. That was a dumb decision by Gionta to try and bat it down to begin with and now it has led to this unfortunate four-minute penalty kill. Good luck to NJ. If they can kill it, it will be a momentum boost for sure.

9:18 PM: The kill has been great so far. The clearances have been solid and the Islanders haven't been able to get too much going. Then Oduya made a clearance that went high and over the glass with a little over 30 second left. Fortunately for the Devils and Oduya, the puck seems to have taken a deflection off the glass so no delay of game penalty.

9:19 PM: PENALTY KILLED! Awesome! 8 minutes left for an equalizer, go Devils!

9:20 PM: I SPEAK TOO SOON! BRIAN GIONTA OFF THE DEFLECTION! Great drive to the net by Zubrus, great job by Martin to pick up the rebound and for the shot, and great job by Gionta for the re-direction! 3-3! Don't stop now, Devils, there's a lot of time left for a lot to happen.

9:28 PM: A little less than 4 minutes left and the Islanders are surging a bit; but the Devils aren't being steamrolled on defense like they did in the second. They're getting chances too. Great hockey game, but I would love a Devils goal very soon to really put the screws to the Islanders.

9:33 PM: Sergei Brylin dishes it to Jay Pandolfo on the off-wing and a shot to DiPietro's glove. Yes, Pandolfo is looking for the winner. I love it. Less than 2 minutes left. Keep up the pressure, Devils.

9:34 PM: Sean Bergenheim may have just become the goat. 2 minutes for interference. You can't hit players away from the play, even if it wasn't much. Devils on the power play with 1:10 left.

9:38 PM: And we are going to OVERTIME. 42 seconds of power play time will carry over for the Devils. If I'm Sutter, I push my team to get the goal here rather than go into a shootout. I don't know how good Weekes is good in shootouts, but I do know DiPietro can definitely handle their own. These 42 second will be crucial.

9:39 PM: Devils didn't get it, but the power play did their best. Hopefully the Devils can hold the Islanders back from their offensive pushes.

9:39/9:40 PM: KAREL RACHUNEK HIT THE POST?! OR DID IT GO IN!? Can we get a review on that, refs? That was ODD.

9:42 PM: Sergei Brylin loses his balance on a breakaway, that could have been something but no dice. Also: a replay showed that Rachunek did just hit the post - my mistake earlier. Got my hopes up.

9:44 PM: Late call by the ref! Andy Greene will sit for the rest of overtime for tripping. This penalty kill is obviously crucial. Good luck, PK unit.

9:47 PM: The Islanders win the game in overtime by Bill Guerin sneaking into the slot behind Martin to put home the rebound. The penalty kill failed and the Devils lose the game. They get a point, but it's still a loss.

9:49 PM: Recovering from the second period to tie the game was great. Losing the game shorthanded was not. The game ends 4-3 and the Devils will play their next game next Thursday against the Rangers. I hope the team will finally get their heads on straight and perhaps be able to put together a solid 60 minutes of hockey during their relatively long rest.

9:55 PM: This concludes my first attempt at liveblogging - the title has been altered to account for this and I hope you all enjoyed it. The game didn't end well, but considering how terrible the second period was for the Devils - you have to admit that taking them to overtime is a lot better than seeing the team roll over in the third period. While everything the Devils did in the second period was poor, the Devils did give a much better performance on offense and defense. Their never-give-up approach in the third yielded results. As a whole, the Devils clearly need to do improve in terms of discipline (Who trips up a player with less than a minute in overtime, Greene? Bad hockey players, that's who.) and playing a consistent level of hockey. Again, I hope they can work on this for Thursday's game against the Rangers in MSG.

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So, now that it's all said and done -- what do you think of liveblogging? (=

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