So, here we go.

Ah, the eve of playoffs in New Jersey. A favorite time here at 2MA. We’ve done this a few times already on the good ol’ interwebs, but it just doesn’t seem to lose its luster to rant and rave about Black ‘n Red and our (somewhat) irrational hopes at Silver Salvation.

Oh yes, playoffs.

I may be crouched in the corner of a somewhat rank apartment surrounded by Hawks fans in the middle of the Windy City, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to just sit back and idly root for a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in, what, thirty-seven thousand years?

Sorry Amy.

Seriously, this is the time. Second season. It all counts now. One goal. Insert various quotes from the epic 300 here. I could go on, clearly.

I will not though.

We have a mission on hands, folks. While I may not be able to squeeze my butt into the spacious seats at the Rock (I’m working on it. Thanks Jenny Craig!), the boys and I will be bringing you the wonderful (or should I say colorful?) coverage you’ve all grown to know and love for the duration of the Devils’ quest at glory.

Check back for pregame pleas and post parading (I hope? Don’t ruin my dream, Carolina!) as second season starts now here at 2 Man Advantage.

Remember, Martin Brodeur might only have one fully functioning elbow at this point, but we all still have fully functioning fingers just waiting to receive the flow of creative juices from our fantastically full brains, and really — who could ask for more?

Yeah, I totally just went alliteration on all y’all. That’s how it’s done here.

Erectile Dysfunction & the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

So. New Jersey and Carolina. Why does this sound so familiar and why do I have only bad memories of past playoff series’ between these two? Whether you think back to 2002 or 2006, both years still leave a bad taste in my mouth. Given the way the Devils have sized up with the Hurricanes throughout this year’s Regular Season, you can probably understand why I’m having a hard time “getting up” for this year’s playoff match-up.


(USEFUL REMINDER: I am a pessimist.)

To a certain extent, it’s almost unfair. Roll back to February. The Devils had just come off a weekend that saw them roll over the #1 and #2 teams in the league… without Martin Brodeur. I don’t think things could have looked any better for the Devils at that point. The offense resembled the year 2001 and the rest of the team was playing solid, near-flawless hockey. The boys from Newark were the talk of the league. At that point, it wouldn’t have surprised anyone if the Devils were still standing come June.

Don't worry, they're legal. FAST FORWARD — Newark, NJ: Present Day. The Devils are slowly recovering from a hellacious two weeks and are stumbling into the playoffs only to match-up with a team that they have had nearly no success against all season long. The team defense — especially the PK — has been abnormally weak as of late, the PP seems to have fallen into the abyss, and the rest of the offense can’t seem to get anything going without the help of some faulty glass-assembly.

At this point, it seems as if this season was just one giant tease that left us all a little frustrated in the end. Despite all the records that have fallen and the plethora of memories that will be taken from this year’s campaign, the outlook, to me, is grim at best. The Devils may be the favorite on paper, but Carolina has New Jersey licked on the ice.

Regardless, I will be supportive. The Devils have shown many a critic (myself included) that their foot belongs in their mouth, and that no meal is finer than crow. I can only hope this flicker is only part of the wildfire that we are about to witness over (hopefully) the next several months.

With that being said, break out the rally towels and put away those razors.

It’s playoff time!!

Welp, it’s over.

Is this my last plea for the season?

Gosh, I sure hope not.

We’ve tried the whole desperation thing. Failed. We begged and bribed, to no avail. It’s simply impossible to wake the beast, I fear.

Have I given up? Oh, no. Not at all.

Am I trying some whole reverse-psychology deal, secretly hoping that if I kick the dog, (dog being New Jersey of course) the boys will actually win the game tonight?

Of course I am.

Jokes people, jokes.

Seriously, what does it take to get these boys to get the job done? Surely, goals would be nice. They’ve been scoring handfuls here and there the past few games though. This is not the problem. Physicality, maybe? Oh, yeah, the physical edge is also great and all, but I’ve seen enough of that as well.

Yes, Marty is being pushed around in his cage, but let each and every Devils fan exhale first, this is not the concern. The only way Mr. Brodeur gets hurt in net is by his own doing. I worry he may pull a muscle with his dramatic flops, but that’s neither here nor there.

(Somewhere, about 20 miles East of here, a bunch of clowns in blue are laughing and agreeing with the above statement. That’s fine.)

Grand scheme of things, folks. The boys aren’t clicking on all cylinders. Even if they were, it’s still not enough. The Rangers are no juggernaut, but they are light years ahead of Black ‘n Red in the talent department. No fooling ourselves, that’s not allowed right now. They’re the better team.

Just because New York may be better doesn’t mean they should win though. I know, it kind of doesn’t make sense at all, but when does hockey really ever make sense? It’s all about riding a hot streak, a beautiful wave of precision and determination to Lord Stanley’s Cup. Sure, we’re only Round 1 and all, but you gotta start somewhere, yes?

Let the Devils start somewhere tonight. Get the engine goin’, rev it like no one’s business and ride it out. It can be done.

I say this now, and I do hope it is not the last time I say it this season: GO DEVILS!

Well…

Dear New Jersey,
Do it again. That’s all I ask.

Yours forever,
Patricia
XOXO

PS~ If you guys win tonight, I will personally give one lucky reader a 2MA t-shirt.

READERS: LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS POST BETWEEN NOW AND 9:00 PM ET CHEERING YOUR DEVILS ON. IF THE BOYS PULL THROUGH TONIGHT, ONE LUCKY WINNER WILL RECEIVE A 2MA SHIRT. WINNER WILL BE CHOSEN RANDOMLY. DO IT UP!

BREAKING NEWS: Sean Avery wins asshat of the universe competition

NEW YORK — Sean Avery, alleged John and mediocre forward for the New York Rangers, was officially awarded the title of “Asshat of the Universe” Monday morning after the National Hockey League was forced to alter its rules specifically to keep up with his douchebaggery.

Avery received the award, presented annually by the International Brotherhood of Asshatters and Duck-Billed Platypi (IBADBP), after NHL disiplinarion Colin Campbell altered a rule as a direct result of Avery’s actions during a 4-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils Sunday night.

During the 2nd period of a then 1-1 game, the Rangers were in the midst of a 5-on-3 powerplay when Avery began waving his stick and hands frantically within inches of the face of Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur in an attempt to distract him. The Rangers scored seconds later.

“It just came to me earlier that day,” Avery said after the game. “I saw this 4-year-old doing it to his brother while he was trying to concentrate on a video game and thought, I can use this.”

Brodeur, who is no stranger to Avery’s penchant for irritation, said after the game he was still trying to wrap his head around what occurred.

“I couldn’t believe it. He really raised the bar with that one,” he said Monday morning. “He was acting like we were playing basketball and was trying to guard me. At one point he started screaming ‘gonna take it to the paint Marty?!’ over and over. After that I just lost it. I couldn’t figure it out. Next thing you know the puck was in the net.”

The NHL acted swiftly and less than 24 hours after the game, Campbell released this statement:

“National Hockey League Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell issued the following advisory on the interpretation of Rule 75: Unsportsmanlike Conduct.

‘An unsportsmanlike conduct minor penalty (Rule 75) will be interpreted and applied, effective immediately, to a situation when an offensive player positions himself facing the opposition goaltender and engages in actions such as waving his arms or stick in front of the goaltender’s face for the purpose of interfering with and/or distracting the goaltender as opposed to positioning himself to try to make a play.’”

Sean AveryWhen IBADBP President Reginald Hammerfart heard of Avery’s feat of classless dickishness, he also didn’t miss a beat.

“I immediately knew we had a winner,” Hammerfart said. “We were about to give it to the guys who made that movie “Meet the Spartans,” but this just blew that out of the water.”

The award is the world’s highest honor given to an asshat and in receiving it Avery joins the company of past winners that includes comedian Carrot Top and right-wingnut Ann Coulter.

After hearing he won the award, Avery was humbled.

“I was like wow, who knew I could make it this far,” he said. “I just hope I set an example for asshats everywhere. If you believe in yourself you can accomplish anything.”

DISCLAIMER: With the exception of Colin Campbell’s statement on the rule change and the incident itself, everything else in this article was entirely made up. Just in case heh.

You’re Welcome.

Dearest Patricia,

We’re pretty awesome huh? I know, I know, we’ve given you some scares in the past couple of days; what with Zach losing his boyish good looks and Marty nearly losing his head. But really, we were about to turn it around, we just needed to wait for the right moment.

Sure, there were plenty of Rangers fans to say we didn’t deserve that goal, it was a fluke or whatever. I’m sure another few might break out the rule books and say the refs missed all the calls and argue Brodeur really should have been called for trying to disrupt Sean Avery’s view of that blonde in the third row.

But we’ve tasted blood now, and we’re coming back for more.

Regardless how we got here we’d just like to say as a team — from the bottom of Johnny Oduya’s beard — thank you Patricia. If we had known the indigestion and drug dependence we were causing Devils fans, it would not have ever been an issue in the first place. Our bad! Really!

Ok, so maybe we didn’t channel the spirit of Claude or Scotty like you asked, we went for a more Randy Mckay vibe, but it still fits the bill, right?  Riiight.

Bottom line, we’re back in it and we just wanted to let ya know, we appreciate the heads up about our crap play of late.

Hugs and Kisses,

The Devils

P.S. If you see Zach’s front teeth anywhere, give us a heads up.  Much love to Dano, but NOT a good look for a guy in his early 20s and dude wants to hit the bar.

Win…please?

Dearest New Jersey,
I don’t like being mad at you. I really don’t. You make it so easy sometimes though. Do you realize that you have surely put me to an early grave? All the antacids, those ulcers are killin’ me. Oh, and I need a lot of dental work too, but that’s just because of the Meth. Still, I blame you.

You have a shot here to make it right. How? Win tonight. Please? I hate begging, I really do, but this is what you’ve brought me to here. As I sit here, writing this with my nervous twitch (okay maybe that’s the drugs), I cannot fathom the chances you guys really have if you so happen to lose tonight. 3-0 holes are just ridiculous.

I live and die by you, Black ‘n Red. When Zach Parise hurts, I hurt. When Dainius Zubrus scores, I score. Oh, and when Andy Greene actually makes a good play, I buy a lottery ticket.

Just kidding.

But seriously, boys, give it your all tonight. Desperation is not enough here. We need results in the form of grit and dedication to the game. I know you each have it in you. Bring your inner Claude Lemieux out, channel Scott Stevens, do whatever it takes to get the job done.

I may not make it another day otherwise.

Seriously.

With love,
Patricia

RANGERS @ DEVILS: GAME 2 (sort of) LIVE-CAP!

9:54 PM ET: And that’s game. Rangers with the 2-0 lead. Not good folks, not good. Horrible ending to the game, thanks to the officials. Way to ruin a pivotal moment.

9:53 PM ET: Can anyone explain to me why an icing was called when, uh, the Devils are shorthanded? Lame.

9:53 PM ET: Aaaand Cap’n Langs takes a penalty. Wow. Way to ruin everything.

9:51 PM ET:
Lundqvist with a huge save, time out Rangers.

9:49 PM ET: GOAL! FINALLY! MADDEN! THERE’S HOPE! EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!

9:46 PM ET:
Empty net with a little over 90 seconds left. Time out time, me thinks.

9:45 PM ET: Desperation has once again set in, yielding unfavorable results thus far. We’re closing in on two minutes. It’s going to take a miracle.

9:33 PM ET: This is starting to look like a lost cause.

9:28 PM ET:
And as I put the finishing touches on the last update, Jagr nearly nets another one. Oh my goodness. The Rangers are really controlling the play now.

9:38 PM ET: Review over a potential goal proves to be less than favorable for Black ‘n Red. No goal. Ugh.

9:28 PM ET: We’re hittin’ about ten minutes left in the tilt. Boys need to get some stuffs goin’ on real soon.

9:23 PM ET:
I need beer. Now.

9:20 PM ET: Epic fail. 2-0 Rangers. Avery scores. Sigh.

9:19 PM ET: WHAT THE BLOODY HELL???? I hate Jaromir Jagr. He’s a butt. 1-0 Rangers.

9:18 PM ET:
Whew! Marty with the splits, huge glove save. Man, it hurts — that’s how nice that save was on Backman.

8:56 PM ET:
Period done. Red ‘n Black start the third on the man advantage. I see a trend here.

8:55 PM ET:
A-hole Avery conveniently “falls” on Marty. Have fun in the penalty box, buddy.

8:54 PM ET:
Aaaaand, one minute left in the period!

8:50 PM ET: Ha! ZUBBIEMONSTER gives King Henrik a snow shower, King Henrik returns with a chop to the skates. More

8:48 PM ET: Boys are still trying to get the puck through those pesky pads of King Henrik. I still maintain they should go high on the jerk.

8:44 PM ET: Something to think about: What kinds of fun painkillers is Zach on right now? Inquiring minds (and a few druggies) would like to know…

8:42 PM ET:
Ergh. Shortie two-on-one goes vacant for the Maddog and the Panddog.

8:41 PM ET:
Upon further review, the hook is phantom. Lame.

8:39 PM ET: And that’s how you do it! Pandolfo with a huge shot block, Devils finish off the kill. Play whistled dead, ‘nother penalty to come. Hook on ZUBBIEMONSTER. Aw hell. Way to be a boner kill.

8:37 PM ET:
And once things quiet down, Cap’n Jamie takes a swing at Gomez! The crowd roars with absolute glee and jubilation. I love it.

8:37 PM ET: Scrum! Shanny-hanny goes at it with White and, uh, anyone else who will take hi on. Lots of face smearing and high sticks.

8:35 PM ET:
That bugger Sean Avery draws a penalty after ZUBBIEMONSTER takes a chop at him. Boo.

8:31 PM ET: Four minutes of marginally decent chances. No goals. That was kind of a big letdown.

8:24 PM ET: BREAKING NEWS: ZACH PARISE HAS LOST HIS FRONT TWO TEETH. Nasty crosscheck to the face by Backman, Parise is painin’. Poor pretty boy. He’s goin’ off for some work, the boys are goin’ on some major man advantage time.

8:17 PM ET: Poor Zajac is pressing. KEEP SHOOTING HIGH, BOYS!

8:16 PM ET:
Okay, updates might get a little hairy here. I’ll keep on this though, no fear. So, uh, lots of nothin’ basically. The pee-pee was annoying at best. Holy passing and fake shots, Batman!

7:53 PM ET:
Nice flurry to end the period. Langenbrunner is absolutely stuffed by King Henrik. Period over. We’re scoreless after one. Minute and change on the pee-pee to start the second.

7:52 PM ET:
Cap’n Jamie helps draw a penalty, Staal to the box, Devils to the power play to end the period. Holler.

7:50 PM ET:
Borrring….

7:47 PM ET: Not all that much going on in the closing minutes of the period. We’re down to four minutes.

7:42 PM ET: Dubinsky with a quick turnaround shot, nearly surprises both Marty and myself. Lucky for us, Mr. Brodeur seems to be on his game tonight.

7:40 PM ET: Girardi throws a decent chance at net, Marty holds his ground though. Drury attempts a rebound, but Black ‘n Red make sure their net keeper is not to be messed with — they know what’s up.

7:39 PM ET:
A muffled “Let’s Go Devils” chant emanates from the stands, in hopes of amping the boys. Back and forth action continues. Sean Avery also continues to be a piece of poo. Oh, and I kind of have to pee.

7:35 PM ET:
Clearly, I picked a real winner to make my comeback. This game has been nuts. More cluster-fluckin’ action goin’ down. King Marty matches King Henrik save-for-save. This game is feisty.

7:34 PM ET: HOLY CHRIST HOW DID THE PUCK NOT GO IN THERE?? Okay I’m officially sad.. About 9000 Devils chances, puck does not find itself behind King Henrik’s bum. WHAT GIVES?

7:32 PM ET: Kind of a cluster-fluck going on here. Yes, I wrote fluck. Let’s keep this semi-family friendly here.

7:30 PM ET:
Gomez with a sharp angle shot, Marty with the nice stop. Little bit of a scrum ensues, but nothing fun enough to report on. I feel like I’m going to be writing the name “Gomez” a lot tonight. I’m not happy about this.

7:29 PM ET:
Clarkson and Mara go at it a bit. Nothing really comes of it. Gomez continues to be booed by fans far and wide.

7:28 PM ET:
DELAY DONE! HOCKEY!

7:23 PM ET:
Delay continues. In-game(?) skate commences. Who knew plexiglass could be so…complexi? Thank you, thank you — I’m here all night.

7:22 PM ET:
Shoddy glass gives way to Yoggi Berra cameo on the television. Silver lining folks, silver lining.

7:21 PM ET:
Large delay thanks to shoddy glass. Prudential Center fails.

7:16 PM ET:
The boys look a bit desperate, and I like it.

7:15 PM ET:
Thank you, Johnny-cakes. You totally saved Paulie Martin’s ass there. Huge block.

7:13 PM ET:
Boys can’t really get much going here. Late push at the tail-end of the man advantage, but nothing comes of it. At least we can marvel at the beauty of a helmetless ZUBBIEMONSTER.

7:11 PM ET: Straka barely clips Mottau, Devils get a pee-pee. We’re, like, a minute into the game. This is, naturally, do or die here.

7:10 PM ET:
HOCKEY! Let us pray for a strong start for Black ‘n Red.

7:03 PM ET: Hey! I’m here! Scott Gomez has sore baby back ribs. Chili’s, anyone?

6:04 PM ET:
Ladies and gents, it’s true. Yours truly, Patricia Diane Greuter, has come out of live-cap retirement to (sort of) live-cap tonight’s game! While updates will be sporadic, expect those grand, witty quips that you’ve grown to love from your faithful 2MA Editor! Check back around puck-drop, I’ll be here servin’ up burgers, fries, and some good ol’ fashioned *Rag-ass-kicking!

*NOTE: Rag-ass-kicking not included with the price of purchase. Void where prohibited. Dear Lord please let the Devils win this game. Standard rules and regulations apply.

Let’s try that again.

Here we go again.

Game 2 is mere hours away and the rock that was settling in the pit of my stomach has returned. A Devils/Rangers series will always do a number on one’s insides, but when you’re down in the series, it’s even rougher.

So, for the sake of your fans’ physical health, I implore of the Devils: win tonight. Please? A win makes this series a best-of-five, and that I can handle. I don’t think my stomach, heart, or spleen can handle the pressure of being down 2-0. What can I say, my spleen gets very emotionally involved in the game sometimes.

Winning tonight shouldn’t be that big of an issue. The boys put some quality shots are Henrik Lundqvist in Game 1, catching iron three separate times and scoring their lone goal. They know they can beat Lundy, they just need to tweak their accuracy. Oh dear God how they need to tweak their accuracy. I trust that that’s something that can take place, but ask me again after tonight’s game.

On the defensive end, as much as it disgusts me to say it, it’s absolutely imperative that they shut down Scott Gomez. The Red ‘n Black gave Gomez far too much room to operate in Game 1 and made his life far too easy, thus the three assists. The Clarkson/Zubrus/Rupp line did an effective job of shutting down the Jagr line; it’s up to Pandolfo/Madden/Gionta to step it up against the Gomez line.

In goal, let’s just get it over with. Marty made a huge mistake last game. What of it? I’m willing to grant him one big blunder in exchange for a year of ridiculous-even-by-his-standards play in front of a patchwork D that sports Mike Mottau as a top four guy. It was shocking because it was Marty and because it happens so rarely. You won’t see it again. Save for not covering the puck (or playing it too slowly) on the Callahan goal, Marty was stellar once again Wednesday night, and I expect he will continue to be this evening.

I really truly believe that if the Devils play the way they did in Game 1 – while not allowing Henrik to psych them into shooting wide every other play – the boys can win this game and ultimately this series. The key, however, is continuing to play that way.

Please make it so.