Senators 5, Devils 4
PRESIDENT’S 2 CENTS: Huge W for the Sens, looking to get that Split in the Swamp after the Devils ‘coughed’ one up in honour of Patrik Elias … So far so good as it stands, to maybe escape with two wins even after nearly blowing that 4-0 lead when Scott Gomez’s tying goal went off the post. That entire sequence led to a Sens penalty as they desperately tried to clear the zone. Even Chris Neil seemed a little nervous, standing around wondering what to do … But in the first period it looked like the Devils who were the rusty ones with a week-long layoff, not the Sens. No one was shakier than Mr. Brodeur, who let in one over each shoulder … In the words of the wise new CBC commentator-for-a-day, Pat Quinn, the Devils “didn’t throw a bodycheck” all period. True, and they were uncharacteristically sloppy too, notably the defence, which seemed a step behind the opportunistic Sens. Also liked Pat’s take on riding one’s superstars into the dirt (see: Tampa). In short: the Sens have the depth. However, anyone thinking this is guaranteed to be a short series should realize this Devils team can still bite back and play suffocating D … Mike Fisher was everywhere on both ends all night tonight, as usual. Employee #12 had one great play where he zooms down the wing, gets a shot away, then hits Andy Greene for good measure. The two hits on Parise were key as well. And does anyone else think that if Fish were a step quicker down the wing, he could scoot around any defender any time he wants? No complaining at all though, just a thought … Speaking of scooting around defenders, how about that Allen Iverson-esque crossover Joe Corvo pulled before rifling his first of the postseason? Just another move in the Joltin’ Joe arsenal, which has thus far busted out some serious weaponry as Joe has officially come full circle … One player with quite the arsenal himself is Alfie, of course, who threw the body around nicely. At least 5-6 good hits throughout helped took away the effectiveness of the Madden line all night. How about that hit on Jay Pandolfo, who’s no pushover himself, that led to the Preissing shot which Spezza tipped in? Took the crowd out of it. Oh wait, New Jersey really has no crowd … On the subject, it seems the suburban and cavernous Continental Airlines Arena still employs the same tired noise-encouragement techniques as in past years. The same old ‘da-da da-da’ organ jingle followed by claps, as well as the droning goal horn come to mind. 15,512 (3,500 or so short of full barn) was the announced attendance, but about half that looked to be there during the anthems. No wonder the Nets are bound for Brooklyn, and that a new Devils arena is going up in Newark. Three Stanley Cups? Still might not put butts in seats … Travis “Pat” Zajak’s goal late in the first stopped the bleeding, followed by the second period Devils barrage which included another Zach Parise goal from the doorstep. This kid has a nose for the puck, a la Ryan Smyth or John LeClair. Watch out, he’s the real deal, yet another another Lou Lamoriello draft gem … Oleg Saprykin continues to show he belongs, as he had his third great chance of the playoffs on a point-blank chance, which Brodeur coughed up a bad rebound on … Wade Redden finally popped one tonight and has put in two great games in a row. It’s hard to tell sometimes with him, but in that post-game interview you could tell his confidence in his game was coming back. And you know Wade was ready roll his eyes when Elliotte Friedman brought up the Leaf demons of the past … Don Cherry certainly was flattering when alluding to demons that haunted Sens in the past with this gem on Coach’s Corner: “a couple of years ago they were a sucky team.” Ouch. And to think, I was all ready to compliment his brown suit-pink tie ensemble … Brian Rafalski’s lacksidasical clearing attempt late in the first, which led to Dean McAmmond picking him off and getting a beauty, spoke volumes of the Devils’ surprising lack of effort and detail defensively … Ray Emery now owes Anton Volchenkov a steak dinner for his efforts in helping rob Brian Gionta from a yawning cage … Last but not least, gotta love the shot of John Muckler cussing beside Ron Low as the Devils made it 5-4. Old school.