Game night.

So.  Tonight.

It’s a big one.  A little too big for a pair of teams that have been pretty poor in their last four games.

The Devils, of course, are 0-3-1 since Marty Brodeur recorded shutout #101 two Fridays ago.   The Rangers, who play host to NJ tonight at MSG, are 1-2-1 over the last four.  I’m sure this is exactly what Versus was angling for.  Show Us Your V indeed.

Ah, who am I kidding.  We all know the real storyline – not that it’s the REAL storyline, but the storyline the media’s going to hype ad nauseum – Sean Avery Vs. Martin Brodeur, round whatever.

Avery’s keep his mouth shut on tonight’s game (as probably should have been expected, the Rangers won’t allow him to talk to the media ’til post-game), and Marty’s dodging questions with relation to Avery.  In reality, there’s bigger fish to fry than worrying about Sean Avery – namely, righting the ship before crashing and burning in the first round of the playoffs again, while simultaneously striking a big blow to the Rangers playoff chances.

Avery can do whatever he wants as far as I’m considered, so long as the Devils escape unharmed and with a regulation victory.  Of course, it’s easy enough for me to say, I’m not playing the game, nor do I have a hoard of reporters asking me about Avery.  So of course, that’s going to be in the back of Marty’s mind, and in the back of the team’s mind.  Focus is the key tonight, however.

Moving on from that sideshow, the Devils remain pretty awful on the road – losing seven of the last ten.  Tonight’s game, of course, is in MSG, which means they’ll have to break that pattern in order to come away with a big two points.  The Devils are in the midst of a brutal stretch of games, six games in nine nights.  The Flyers are nipping at their heels, only six points back.  Two points tonight will be huge, snapping a losing streak, opening some more space in the division race, and making the road all the more difficult for the Rangers going into the playoffs.

While the Devils have not been particularly good against the Rangers in the last few years, as we all know, the boys in Red n’ Black have taken three straight from the cross-river rivals.  Problem is, they all came with Scott Clemmensen in net.  Marty’s beaten New York dozens of times, but not very often lately, so here’s to hoping we can right that little bizarre wrinkle of a stat this evening.

There won’t be a LiveCap tonight, sadly.  At least not from my end, as I won’t be catching the early portions of tonight’s game due to schooling commitments.  So kick back, enjoy and game, and for the love of all that is good in the world, let’s win this one tonight, yes?  Yes.

So, He’s Back.

Hey, You know what would go really well with Martin Brodeur returning to the Devils lineup? How about Sean Avery bringing his circus act back to Broadway.

Oh wait, HE DID.

Yes, Glen Sather has once again reminded the Ranger faithful why their beloved blueshirts are where they are.

Y’know, don’t worry about the fact the Rangers have only amassed 159 goals — third fewest in the conference — despite names like Gomez, Drury, Naslund, and Zherdev buzzing around every game. Nevermind the fact that Henrik Lundqvist couldn’t stop a 747 from going top-shelf glove-side. No, no — Sean Avery is the answer. Right. Well. Good luck with that. Guess he already forgot who he put behind the bench.

Get the popcorn ready, there is a bomb about to go off on 34th St — and hey, where better to watch the festivities from than just across the Hudson?! 😉

That wasn’t a game, that was a statement.

And thus ends the saga of Brodeur V. Avery, at least for the time being. A 5-0 thrashing by the Devils, with every single player wearing the NJ crest looking spectacular. Check out Scott’s analysis below – even he couldn’t come up with someone to chew out!

As Scott mentioned, Andy Greene looked stellar, putting up two assists and bringing us back to the Andy halcyon days of the 2007 playoffs. Dainus Zubrus clearly is as upset as we are that the Zubbie Counter remains in the cob-webbed cellar of 2MA and is working to change that. Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond had a wicked hit late in the game to go with his first career NHL point. Zach Parise continued his stellar start, adding another goal and assist to his growing point totals. And of course, John Madden finally scored on a fast break-like situation!

Perhaps most importantly though, is that – save for a bad penalty by Clarkson in the first period – the Devils FINALLY figured out how to keep Sean Avery from getting under their collective skin. In fact, I submit that the Devils/Clarkson/Brodeur gave Avery a small dose of his own medicine. Even ESPN took notice of the little shoves and the clearing attempt by Brodeur that whizzed by Avery’s head. The Devils frustrated Avery and made him a non-factor. My only question is why they needed a thirteen-game study session last year to figure it out.

So now, with a 5-1-0 record, we move on to a home-and-home with our dear dear friends, the (still winless) Philadelphia Flyers. This could be fun.