What We Learned: Losing streak over, time for Capitals domination (Yahoo! Sports)

Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend's events and...

I Just Couldn’t Resist. Again.

Ya know, it really is funny. It seems like the newest fad in the hockey blogosphere is to grab a keyboard and wax poetic about how the Devils just destroy the game, disappoint hockey naturalists, sport lousy attendance, and simply aren’t getting it done anymore. But as we learned last time, it’s probably a good idea to make sure you have at least…I don’t know… watched a live hockey game before you plunge right in and scrap together a literary abortion. After all, it really isn’t fair to ask someone to resist temptation twice.

Let’s take a little trip over to Arthur Staple’s latest, shall we? Go ahead… I’ll give you a few.

Ok. Changed your underpants? Good, let’s go.

As a Devils’ fan, I’m obviously used to reading such poorly-written, devoid-of-substance attacks against one of the NHL’s most successful teams. However, I must admit that this is the first time I have read a piece focusing on playoff success in November. Really, Arthur? You’re going to sit at your little cubicle and write an article about the NHL Playoffs… in November?!

Brilliant. Well, your first self-contradiction comes with a statement that Lou Lamoriello “has it wrong” and that he’s “had it wrong since the lockout… even though the Devils have won three Atlantic Division titles in those four seasons.” (Could this be a test market for Microsoft’s new “does-this-make-sense?” feature?!) But wait, it gets better: Mr. Staple even makes his very own “trap” comment.

Arthur, seriously — you wouldn’t know the ol’ 1-2-2 if it kicked in your bathroom door and video-taped you reading Parade Magazine while you were waiting for the generous amount of Rogaine you graciously applied to your testicles to dry. I know this because had you recognized any trace of the “trap”, you would have easily detected it when the Rangers, Islanders, Penguins, Flyers, Capitals, Bruins, and Panthers executed it all year long. But no, no criticism of the sexy NHL clubs.

Oh look, kids — Brodeur comments, too?! How original, Arthur. Oh! You realized he got hurt last year, very good!

But Lou didn’t have a backup plan?

Really? I thought Scott Clemmensen came in and won a few games (or twenty-something) for the team and led them to an Atlantic Division championship? But ya know, Lou had no idea what he was doing. After all, Clemmensen was just signed to be a towel boy that happened to be an NHL-caliber goaltender. Who knew.

But when it’s down to the playoffs, the Devils only have Parise, Zajac, and Martin. No other Devils capable of taking a game on their shoulders, you say? My records show Langenbrunner, Pandolfo, Greene, and Clarkson — in addition to Parise and Zajac — all with registered playoff game-winners since 2006. Not to mention many from ex-Devils Gomez, Madden, and Gionta.

Sure, roster moves and player exits have caused holes to be “plugged” in New Jersey and Brian Rolston and Dainius Zubrus have filled those roles. Why? Because they want to be here. It isn’t about the money or the Broadway lights. It’s about playing a system that year after year proves itself to be one of the best in the league. Sure, the Devils have fallen on dark times in recent playoff years. But as I recall, the same string of disappointments befell the team in the late 90’s. After all was said and done, and numerous carbon-copied recycled bullcrap from “writers” like yourself — the Devils would go on to advance to the Stanley Cup finals in three of the next four seasons, winning the Stanley Cup twice.

Arthur, you can’t look me in the eye and tell me that Lou Lamoriello has no idea what he is doing. While the goal and the philosophy may stay the same year in and year out, master plans aren’t instantaneous in professional sports. Could these Devils be a part of a bigger puzzle? Who knows? I don’t have ESP, and neither do you.

Which is why you shouldn’t be writing this type of crap in November.

Game Night

I’m so buried under schoolwork right now that I don’t even know who the Devils are playing tonight.

The Capitals?  Schmeh.  No Ovechkin, you say?  AWESOME.

If we’re gonna win a home game this year, an Ovechkin-less Capitals is a good way to try.  No, I don’t count the Carolina game because they suck and we still only barely won.  The Capitals sans Ovi are still pretty damn good, but beatable.

I, of course, won’t be watching this game.  Suggestion to the NHL:  Release your schedule before I have to register for classes.  I’m in school very late on Wednesday nights, and of course, the Devils play just about every Wednesday night.  Mostly at home, too.  That is weak sauce.

I know that this post is mostly saying nothing.  That’s because I’m a little distracted, as you may have noticed.  I apologize.  I mostly just wanted to say that those of you who submitted ZubbieCounters for his most recent goal are AMAZING, and I will be posting more than one of them tomorrow sometime.  That’s how good they are.

Look for a Mackie recap later today or early tomorrow.  And maybe something of substance from me in the next few days too.  Better than this pathetic attempt at a preview, anyway.

Game 5: Hurricanes @ Devils SORTACAP!

10:08 PM: I’m gonna call it a night, boys n’ girls.  Thanks as always for hanging with me.  Goodnight!

10:05 PM: It’s funny how my Sorta-Caps always turn into LiveCaps at the end.  Devils lead the series, 3-2, game 6 in Raleigh Sunday – if the Capitals beat the Rangers tomorrow night, then our game Sunday will likely be on MSG+ at night.  If the Rangers win, our game will likely be on NBC during the day.  I’m pulling even moreso for the Caps tomorrow, ’cause, well, I got work on Sunday.

10:03 PM: Doc, doing the usual end-of-game TV stuff…”This game is a copyrighted event, you don’t want to monkey with our attorneys, ’cause they’re tough.”  Bwahahaha.

10:01 PM: Three stars:  3. Andy Greene, 2. David Clarkson, 1. Martin Brodeur.  I love Andy Greene, and I can’t stand the Hurricanes, but Ward should have been one of the three stars.

10:00 PM: YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!  Jesus Christ I could not handle letting one up late again.  Holy god.  Game over, Devils win, 1-0, and there will be at least one more playoff game at the Rock.  Oh god it feels good.

9:58 PM: Okay, after the icing it was a Hurricanes time out.  Now it’s a Devils time out, after a drive is covered by Brodeur.

9:56 PM: Oduya without a stick in the defensive zone, Martin picks up the pick and goes all the way up ice, Elias with a blast, Ward loses the rebound way out of the net but no one can connect with Ward out of position.  Eventually, Devils ice the puck, Devils time-out, and there’s 23 seconds left with a faceoff in the Devils zone.

9:55 PM: HOLY GOD WHAT GLORIOUS CHANCES!  Ward out of the net, less than a minute to go.

9:53 PM: Wow, shots are 40-39 Devils.  The goalies are by far the stars tonight.  Two minutes to go.

9:50 PM: Again, Chad LaRose is given room to move.  Again, Marty’s up to the task.  Scary nonetheless.  Four and a half minutes left.

9:49 PM: Pandolfo sprung on a glorious breakaway and stopped by Ward!  Drats!

9:47 PM: Andy Greene is playing out of his freakin’ mind.  He’s gotta be at at least a half-dozen shots, as a third-pairing defenseman.

9:46 PM: Bad defense there.  Rolston bounces it off the boards back to Martin, who’s not really paying much attention…

9:45 PM: Devils to the PP, Eaves takes…some sort of penalty.

9:43 PM: We can’t keep thinking Chad LaRose is Chad LaRose and therefore doesn’t require attention.  He’s playing out of his mind this series, stop letting him WALK RIGHT IN ON GOAL UNTOUCHED!  Luckily Marty’s not asleep.

9:40 PM: Nine minutes left in the game.  That stomachache I had during game 3?  It’s back.

9:38 PM: HUGE glove save by Cam Ward on Parise.

9:37 PM: Blue Jackets give up a goal with less than a minute left in their game, after taking a too many men on the ice penalty, and Detroit has swept Columbus.  Shame.  Philly beats Pittsburgh and lives to fight another day.

9:32 PM: Playoff hockey is hazardous to one’s health.

9:29 PM: Penalty: Killed.  Phew.

9:27 PM: Colin White’s out of the box.  Johnny Oduya’s in the box.  He done cross-checked a Hurricane.

9:25 PM: Game back on.

9:07 PM: Aaaaand that’s the end of the second.  Hurricanes will start with a minute of PP time when the third starts, and the Devils lead 1-0.

9:05 PM: White to the box for roughing with less than a minute to go in the second.

9:04 PM: Must be embarrassing, Chad LaRose, to be thrown to the ice by Brian Gionta.

9:00 PM: Blue Jackets/Red Wings game is nuts, 5-5 after 2.  C’mon Jackets!

8:59 PM: Jesus Christ, Mike Rupp.  It’s not often you can get sprung on a breakaway like that from Marty Brodeur.  The least you could do is PRETEND like you don’t have hands of marble and maybe, y’know, not get pickpocketed from behind?

8:52 PM: Okay, it was tipped by Clarkson.  I was so excited for the Mean Greene Goal-Scorin’ Machine.  Now he’s just a Mean Greene Assist-ing Machine.  I’ll take it anyway.

8:50 PM: GOAL!  Andy Greene with a rocket from the point!  Possibly tipped by Clarkson in front, 1-0 Devils!

8:46 PM: Much as I don’t like to give other team’s players affectionate nicknames, particularly pains-in-the-ass like him – but Ryan Bayda needs a nickname.  Ryan VHS Or Bayda?  Ryan Bayda-kerotine?  Ryan Alpha Bayda Parking Lot?

8:44 PM: Still no score, 12 minutes left in the second.

8:37 PM: Clarkson got sammiched by opposing sticks.  No penalty.

8:33 PM: So much for that PP.  Rolston goes down for holding, 4-on-4 for a minute or so.

8:30 PM: Second period on, it looks like Marty was indeed cut by the skate blade of the Hurricane.  He’s still out there, so I guess he’s good?  Starting the period with the fire that we need, and Tim Gleason interferes with Parise, so the Devils to the PP.

8:11 PM: No score after one.  Andy Greene is shooting like he wants to keep playing beyond tonight.  I like that.  He’s talking to Stan Fischler now, and looks weird with a playoff beard.  Devils looked good late in the period and might have scored with there were a few more minutes in the period.  Gotta come out with that kind of fire to start the second.

8:05 PM: Alright.  Alright.  Marty gets tripped, but if the last few days have done anything for me, it’s gotten me intimately acquainted with NHL rule 69.1, and since the dude who took Marty’s feet out from under him was being pushed/trying to avoid contact, it’s no penalty.  Somewhere in the resulting play, Marty picks up an interference penalty, and seems to be kind of hurt, though he’s still playing.  Might have been cut by the skate of the offending Hurricane.

8:04 PM: I…have no words.  I want to see a replay before I completely freak.

7:54 PM: THAT was the big save by Marty that we desperately needed.  Great play by Johnny O, cutting out the passing lane on that 2-on-1.

7:43 PM: Oooooh that’s rich, goalie interference on David Clarkson three minutes into the game.  Is that how it’s gonna be?

7:34 PM: Anton Babchuk, he of the four goals against the Devils and the cannon of a slapshot on the powerplay, is a healthy scratch this evening for Carolina.  Allow me to ask the same question I’m sure most New Jersey (and Carolina) fans are asking when I say…B-WHAAAAAA?

7:15 PM: Hey gang.  Can’t commit to being here all game long for a true LiveCap, so I’m going to check in every once in awhile with thoughts and observations.  Consider this an open thread for game discussion.

Devils @ Senators LIVECAP!

10:19 PM: That’s gonna be it for me tonight gang, thanks for hanging out.  See you at the Rock on Saturday!

10:14 PM: Devils win the Atlantic Division and are locked into the number three seed – both of these determined before the game was even over.  The win tonight gives the team 50 wins on the year, a franchise record.  Montreal earned a point in Boston by sending the game to overtime, and now all eight playoff spots in the east are secured, it’s just a matter of seeding now.  Your elite eight of the east:  Boston, Washington, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Carolina, Pittsburgh, New York, Montreal.

10:13 PM: Spezza denied by Brodeur and the Devils win the shootout 2-1 and the game 3-2!

10:13 PM: Langs stopped glove side by Auld.  Still 2-1, Spezza up for Ottawa.

10:13 PM: Fisher misses to the left, remains 2-1 and if Langs scores we win.

10:12 PM: Shanahan roofs it over Auld’s glove, 2-1!

10:12 PM: Alfredsson snaps it past Marty’s glove.  1-1.

10:11 PM: Zach Parise just completely undressed Alex Auld and it’s 1-0 Devils.  Remember the goal earlier this year against Washington?  It was like that.

10:10 PM: I predict Parise, Elias, and John Madden’s stick as shootout contestants.  Also, I think I just heard the TV change to NHL Network at Scott Mackie’s house.

10:09 PM: Seriously though, I can’t remember the last time we played in a shootout, let alone the last time I LiveCapped a shootout.  Interesting.

10:08 PM: Game over, 2-2.  Wait, what’s this?  Shoot-out?  What is this…shoot…out you speak of?  Surely you jest!

10:06 PM: Zach’s never gonna score again (with deference to the -Ookies once again).  Can’t tip Oduya’s shot, nor can he pull home the rebound.  A minute to go in OT.

10:05 PM: Capitals beat Tampa, and now the Devils are officially locked into the number three seed for the playoffs.

10:03 PM: Ooooooh man Marty with one of those magician-like glove saves – entirely too flashy with that previously-injured arm, but it shut up the Sens fans for a second there.

10:01 PM: Man, I’m tired, I just wanted to go to bed.  Stupid Senators.  Overtime on.

9:59 PM: Going to overtime now.  Life isn’t fair.

9:57 PM: DAMMIT!  Sens fire one off the post that looks like it’s in, White with a good defensive play to prevent a goal, then Dany Heatley manages to pound it home.  God-friggin-dammit.  Tie game, 30 seconds left.

9:55 PM: Alex Auld on the bench for the Sens now, timeout Ottawa…A minute and a half to go and it’s still 2-1 Devils.  Meep.

9:54 PM: Two minutes to go.

9:53 PM: Lots of pressure on the Sens goal…really nice shift there.  Zach Parise must be the hardest luck 45 goal scorer in history.  Okay, probably not, but still.  Boy can’t buy a goal lately.

9:48 PM: All penalties are up now.  Six minutes left in the game.

9:43 PM: …and now the power play’s totally done.  Andy Greene takes a tripping penalty and it’ll be four-on-four for a minute, then Sens on the PP.

9:42 PM: First minor is done, two minutes to go on the PP.

9:41 PM: Gio got smooshed again.  Gio’s too easily smooshable.

9:39 PM: Ooooh, Daniel Alfredsson got pissy with a ref over a penalty and now is serving two minutes for interference (I assume) and another two for unsportsmanlike conduct.  Four minute power play for the Devils!

9:36 PM: Welp, Rangers win so they’re in the playoffs.  Sigh.  BUT, it does mean that the Devils are officially 2008-09 Atlantic Division champions!

9:35 PM: Jebus.  Marty can’t hold onto the puck and gets creamed by about 20 Devils and 14 Senators.  …I may be exaggerating a little.

9:32 PM: Ruutu takes a hook and we’re back to the PP.

9:25 PM: To borrow a line from the -Ookies of Interchangeable Parts, ZACH’S NEVER GONNA SCORE AGAIN!  Hits the post on the power play.  Shortly afterward, Martin with a drive, breaks his stick, and then breaks up an ensuing Sens breakaway WITHOUT A STICK.  Paul Martin is a defensive machine!

9:23 PM: Devils have a full two minutes of PP time to start the period.  Fresh ice, fresh legs, full length power play…surely we have to score, right?  Surely…?

9:22 PM: I love the Chuck the Duck season recap.  Almost more than the actual season recap.

9:05 PM: That’ll be the end of a much better second period.  Penalty on the Senators as time expires and it’ll be the Devils on a full two minutes of PP time when the third starts.  Yay!

9:01 PM: I wonder if John Madden’s hockey stick is also an unrestricted free agent this year, and how much it’ll cost to lock it up for three years.

8:59 PM: BRILLIANT!  The pass bounces off of John Madden’s stick – which Madden was not holding – and out of the zone.  LOVE IT!

8:58 PM: And now John Madden has no stick.  Crap.

8:58 PM: Yep, Whitey’s in the box…again…

8:57 PM: Colin White (I think) takes a hooking penalty.  Even if it wasn’t him, I’m gonna blame Colin White anyway.  Just for the hell of it.  Someone, because of Colin White, takes a hooking penalty.  So the Sens head to a PP.

8:52 PM: Leblond with a Cam Janssen-like heat-seeking missle type hit.  Awww.

8:51 PM: Nearly a two-on-one for the Devils but Zajac is a step slow and Langenbrunner misses the net on the shot.  Two-on-one the other way and Marty stones ’em.  Phew.

8:45 PM: White and Chris Neil get pissy with one another and start bitchslapping each other – Colin won’t drop ’em ’cause of the eye injury, and Neil won’t drop him ’cause he’s Chris Neil.  Two minutes each for roughing.

8:42 PM: Alex Auld plays another puck behind the net.  He didn’t just give it to one of the Devils this time, though.  Drats.

8:39 PM: That was Gionta’s 20th goal of the season.  Kind of sad when we’re looking at that as a milestone for Brian Gionta.

8:34 PM: WHOO!  Auld with an awful giveaway to Clarkson, who attempts the world-reknowned Clarkaround – misses terribly, but the puck slides straight out to Brian Rolston and it’s 2-1 Devils!  Also, Gionta’s goal did not come at the tail end of the power play, it came just after it ended.

8:33 PM: GIONTA!  Gio tips-in Shanahan’s shot at the very end of the power play and we’re tied!

8:32 PM: Ugh.  Terrible giveaway by Andy Greene.  On the plus side, at least he recovered and was able to play some decent Greene-fense to prevent a shot on goal.

8:30 PM: Senators take a very stupid too many men on the ice penalty while in the offensive zone, after a nice save on a very impressive drop-pass-and-shot from…a pair of Senators.  God I’m not very good at LiveCapping tonight.

8:29 PM: We be back yo.

8:12 PM: And that’s that.  1-0 Senators after one.  Sigh.  See ya in seventeen.

8:11 PM: The time remaining in the period and the power play are exactly the same.  Funky.

8:10 PM: …not a very GOOD power play, mind you, but a power play nonetheless.

8:09 PM: On a long delayed penalty, Gionta gets the puck to Zubbie, who drives, protects the puck, cuts for the goal…and falls and collides heavily with the boards.  Oh well, at least we’re on a power play now.

8:04 PM: Paul Martin was a puck-handling, puck-possession machine!  Killed the last 10 seconds on the Senators PP all by his lonesome, forcing his will on the puck carrier and qoinking it away.

8:02 PM: How did Ottawa get two Irish guys on their team?  Shannon and Kelly…I assume they’re Irish, don’t get much more Irish than that.  Also, a Devil took a penalty.  I think Colin White, but I wasn’t paying much attention.  Sorry.

8:00 PM: ‘nother odd-man rush, this time for the Sens, and Marty’s like “NUH-UH!”  ‘least he decided to pay attention tonight.  Much better save there than anything in the Toronto game.

7:58 PM: 2-on-1 with Zajac and Langenbrunner.  No goal.  No surprise.

7:55 PM: PLcubed vs. Winchester (who?).  Lots of grappling, not so much on the punching side.  “How’s your wife and my kids?” kind of affair.

7:51 PM: Elias gets sprung on a mini-breakaway but can’t do anything with it.  Why did you get those days off again Patty?

7:50 PM: All kinds of bad things are happening elsewhere tonight:  Rangers are winning, Panthers are losing…I was hoping we could get a win this evening to guarantee the division, then watch the Flyers sweep the Rangers out of the playoffs and helping Florida in.  Oh well.

7:47 PM: Elias is back too.  Only half as important as PLcubed’s return.  Rupp and Holik take a seat in the press box, much to the maniacal laughter of Jay Pandolfo.  Still no Havelid, which means there’s still a certain level of Greene-fense this evening as well.

7:46 PM: Apparently we recalled Pierre-Luc Letournau-Leblond!  OH JOYOUS HYPHEN-LOVING DAY!

7:44 PM: I rushed a post up for this?  Sigh.  1-0 Senators as Rutuu jams home a rebound.  Maybe we were better off without a LiveCap tonight…?

7:43 PM: Late start for me tonight, terribly sorry.  Game’s already underway, no score, sixteen minutes left to play in the first.  Let’s get this thing going.

Capitals @ Devils LIVECAP!

9:27 PM: So that’ll do it for me tonight.  Hey, I’m willing to bet you’ll see a more traditional Mackie-type Mackie rant later this evening!  A silver lining after all?  Goodnight gang!

9:26 PM: I guess you can’t win them all, of course.  And the streak was something to behold, considering how many of the games were on the road (and in the west, for that matter), and Langenbrunner’s heroics the last handful of games.

9:25 PM: I want January back.  February sucks.

9:24 PM: …and there’s the empty netter.  5-2 Capitals and the eight game winning streak’s officially dead.  Eric Fehr with the goal.

9:23 PM: Clemmensen’s on the bench, six attackers on for the Devils, 1:30 left in the game.

9:21 PM: This is terribly disappointing.  That last power play goal by Washington sucked the life out of the team and the crowd.

9:18 PM: Four minutes to go in the game.

9:16 PM: Too many blocked shots, can’t get anything on Theodore, and the penalty to Brashear is over.

9:13 PM: Brashear goes away for goalie interference.  I missed it.  I’m guessing it was either stupidly blatant so the ref couldn’t ignore it, or an attempt at a pity penalty to make up for the crap call before.

9:09 PM: WEAK.  Nylander scores on the power play that comes as a result of a BS call.  4-2 Capitals.  Now I’m pissed.

9:06 PM: Oh come on now.  Rupp does an excellent job of creating a play for himself, drives on net, stopped by Theodore.  Rupp is tripped up by a stick as he drives, and makes some contact with Theodore…so of course, Rupp’s off for goalie interference.

9:02 PM: Elias with a snapshot on the doorstep that looked like it was in, but alas, was knocked aside by Theodore.  Mine eyes, they deceive me.

8:58 PM: Clarkaround try!  You keep going for it, Clarkie.  One day.  One day.

8:57 PM: I like how “Oduya picks up Langenbrunner at center” when Cap’n plays wing and was against the boards on the blue line at the time of the place.  I miss Doc.

8:56 PM: WOW another shorthanded chance, this time a two-on-one for Zajac and Madden, Zajac can’t bury the shot, however.  Crowd’s woken up, that’s for sure.

8:55 PM: CAPN CLUTCHENBRUNNER!  SHORTHANDED!  3-2 Capitals and we have a hockey game kiddies!  Also, Jamie’s only got one goal so far tonight, he still needs his requisite second goal yet!

8:54 PM: Oh, right, we’re still on a penalty kill.

8:53 PM: We be back yo.

8:35 PM: And that’s the end of two.  Not quite as bad as the first, but still plenty of room for improvement.  3-1 Capitals, stick around for the third.

8:34 PM: Clarkson goes down for hooking behind the play.  We’re also in the last minute of the second period.  We can’t be taking penalties tonight dammit.

8:32 PM: Hard work shift by Gio, sadly with nothing to show for it but possibly some black-and-blues.

8:30 PM: I wonder what Doc does when we play on Versus and he’s not the announcer.  Or what Chico does when there’s a game on Versus and Doc is the announcer.

8:26 PM: The Penguins apparently have a player named Luca Caputi, who has scored in their game.  Tuukaa Rask has some competition for best name in the NHL.

8:23 PM: We finally got that flow I mentioned earlier, end-to-end quickness going on.  Elias with a nice toe drag to pick up Gionta on what was a one-on-two, then breaks his stick going for the shot.  Curses.

8:22 PM: You know, I like the idea of Rupp-Holik-Clarkson, but don’t much care for the idea of Rolston-Madden-Shanahan.

8:19 PM: Elias and Parise get the assists.  With merely a one man advantage, we’re back to not being able to keep it in the offensive zone.  Dang.  And now that advantage is over.  Double dang.

8:17 PM: ROLSTON!  A BLAST from the blue line through a Zajac-ian screen and it’s 3-1.  Still on the PP.

8:16 PM: ‘nother Capitals penalty, and the Devils get a…wait for it…wait for it…2 MAN ADVANTAGE!

8:15 PM: Mike Green’s a hooker.  It’s not a smear tactic, either, the referee says so.  Hence, we’re on a power play now.

8:13 PM: Parise to Zajac on the doorstep and it’s put just wide – maybe off the post.  It’s gonna be one of THOSE nights, eh hockey Gods?

8:10 PM: Couple of nice shots blocked in front and never even make it to Theodore.

8:06 PM: We’re not winning very many loose puck battles this eve, and as such, the majority of the play this period (and in the game) has been in the defensive zone.  And as if that’s not bad enough, they’re playing Red Jumpsuit Apparatus at The Rock.  This game’s getting worse and worse!

8:04 PM: Terribly sorry for the delay, got caught up at the store.  Second period is on, and it’s…3-0 Capitals.  Dammit.  Nylander.  What the hell is going on here?

7:45 PM: That’s the end of the first – 2-0 Capitals.  Back in seventeen.

7:44 PM: Two straight post shots for Washington – for god’s sake, let’s just get out of this period alive!

7:42 PM: This is why I miss Doc & Chico – at least one of them would have told us that the Old Guys Line was not just a practice thing – Rolston, Madden, and Shanahan are skating together.  Meaning Clarkson’s been dropped to a line with Rupp and Holik – Crash Line 2.0 if I ever saw one.

7:39 PM: I think I’ve figured out what’s wrong with tonight’s game – besides the score, of course.  There’s no flow to this game.  So many whistles – offsides, puck out of play, that sort of thing.  It’s kind of annoying, really.

7:38 PM: Clemmensen’s scaring the crap out of me tonight.  Again.  As usual.

7:33 PM: The game’s kind of lagging.  Devils having issues even getting the puck into the offensive zone.

7:31 PM: A surprisingly loud Rangers Suck chant.  Perhaps referring to what we will never speak of again?

7:28 PM: Power play over, and I’m not so sure that we even got a shot on goal during the course of those two minutes.  Poop.

7:26 PM: Paramount to making something happen and being awesome, however, is puck possession, which we seem to be having issues with so far on this PP.  Sigh.

7:25 PM: Nylander to the box for Washington for high sticking, so we’re on a PP.  Making something happen here would be all kinds of awesome.

7:24 PM: Oh for chrissakes.  Tic-tac-toe passing play right off the faceoff and Brooks Laich has basically the entire net to tip in the power play goal.  2-0 Capitals, and where the HELL did our recently awesome penalty kill go?!

7:23 PM: Cap’nbrunner in the box for hooking.

7:22 PM: …did the world REALLY need a reality series about horse jockeys?

7:20 PM: Zubbie wants to continue the world-famous ZubbieCounterContest, but loses the handle on a drive in the slot.  ZubbieCounter remains at 24.  Penalty coming, apparently to the Devils because the fans are booing, but Versus won’t tell us until these words from their sponsors.

7:18 PM: Oh dammit.  Great penalty kill wasted, Mike Green sneaks down and pops one above Clemmer’s glove.  1-0 Washington.

7:17 PM: Niiiice bit of penalty kill by Captainbrunner, getting the puck deep into the Caps zone and not forcing a shot – just hanging on to it for awhile.

7:15 PM: Brashear gets to be a one-man show of puckhandling behind the Devils net.  BRASHEAR.  Eesh.  Devils take a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty, being served by Zubbie.

7:14 PM: The crowd doesn’t look so hot so far.  I hope there’s a bunch of stragglers on the way because of the weather.

7:11 PM: Parise/Zajac/Langenbrunner are buzzing early.  Elias/Zubbie/Gio with an early chance too.  Weeee.

7:10 PM: Aaaaand the puck’s finally on the ice at The Rock.  Jose Theodore’s in net for the Caps, Clemmer for us.  I like it when Theodore’s in net, I seem to recall the Devils lighting him up on numerous occasions.

7:08 PM: There’s some sort of jersey retirement ceremony going on on the other side of the Hudson.  Again.  Now let us never speak of it again.

7:01 PM: Last time these teams met, the Devils broke a four game losing streak by winning 6-5 in the shootout, after allowing Alex Ovechkin to score with one second left.  I remember that game – I was at that game.  As I recall, every time I was not in my seat, we scored.  Every time I was in my seat (or even anywhere NEAR my seat), they scored.  By the end of the night I was watching the shootout on a TV set near the Fire Lounge on the main concourse.  The sacrifices I make for this team!

6:58 PM: So here’s what we got: The Devils ride into this game on an 8 game winning streak.  The Capitals, as of this very minute, sit one point ahead of the Devils for 2nd in the conference.  Win in regulation, and the Devils leap-frog the Caps.

6:57 PM: Why do I love you guys so much?  It’s ’cause you’re awesome, yes…but the things I put myself through just to please y’all…Devils/Capitals coming up on Versus…not only does this mean no Chico…it also means, once again, NO DOC!  Sigh.  I’ll LiveCap it anyway.  Because 2MA is all about the love.