Devils in disguise
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-Paul Steigerwald reminds us it's been a year since Evgeni Malkin scored his first career goal:
-Darryl Sydor doesn't seem like he's too impressed by being named the Kings Restaurant Player to Watch.
19:49: David Clarkson thumps Sydor to the ice, presumably for not paying Kings enough respect. Gary Roberts and Clarkson tussle a bit but officials separate the two.
18:34: Evgeni Malkin comes flying down the crease and splits three Devils defenders. He shoots low, but Martin Brodeur kicks it out with his left leg. Ryan Malone tries to backhand the rebound, but can't get a clean shot off.
17:08: Ryan Whitney throws a puck on net. It hits a body or two and flutters in the air over a kneeling Brodeur. The Devils goaltender reaches behind is head and gloves the pop-fly like Jack Wilson.
13:14: Jay Pandolfo just seems to know how to play the Penguins. Clarkson attempts a wrap-around and the puck somehow finds its way directly the blade of Pandolfo. He snaps a wrist shot past Fleury on the glove hand side. Surprise, surprise. Pandolfo gets an assist. Devils 1-0.
12:46: Mark Eaton takes a slap shot from the point and Brodeur makes the save. Malone again tries to score on the rebound, but Brodeur is there with another save.
11:07: Dainius Zubrus skates down the right side and lets a wrister loose that Fleury gloves with a dash of flamboyance. As we come back from commercial, we are treated to a video of Petr Sykora's first career goal against the Penguins in their "Snoop Dogg" jerseys.
10:02: Clarkson comes into the zone with the puck and leaves a drop pass for John Madden. Using Sydor as a screen, Madden one-times a shot past Fleury. Screened or not, Fleury needs to make that save. Devils 2-0.
6:47: Zach Parise throws a puck on net and Fleury freezes it. Parise tries to follow up on a potential rebound and gets a small whack on the back of the legs from Fleury. A scrum ensues in the crease.
4:02: Wow what a pass. From the right point, Whitney spots Talbot streaking towards the net and air-mails a pass directly to the tape on Talbot's blade. The puck is easily directed into the Devils' net. Devils 2-1.
2:12: On the power play, Sergei Gonchar throws a wrist shot toward the net. Robert re-directs the puck past Brodeur to tie the game. Devils 2, Penguins 2.
0:00: End of period. Devils 2, Penguins 2.
-We're really starting to get sick of these NHL2K8 commercials with Jason Spezza and Marty Turco. Mainly because the Stars' and Senators' new jerseys are so ugly.
-We learn that Devils forward Brian Gionta used to work in his family's hardware store as a kid. We're willing to bet selling wood screws would still be more exciting than watching Devils hockey the last 10 years.
19:08: On the power play again, Crosby swoops from behind the net and eyes Gonchar at the point. Crosby sends a pass to the Penguins defenseman who send a one-timer past Gonchar. Penguins 3-2.
15:23: Three constants in life; Death, taxes and Jarkko Ruutu penalties.
13:03: From the point, Parise sends a pass to the goal-line to Travis Zajac who re-directs the puck off the post and into the net. Devils 3, Penguins 3.
10:23: Mark Recchi bumps Karel Rachunek in the corner and gets his hands up on the Devils defender for a brief second. The officials send Recchi to the box for two minutes. Recchi's madder than Biff Tannen.
8:00: Rachunek briefly holds up Crosby in the neutral zone in a similar fashion to the play that led to Recchi's penalty, but nothing is called. Penguins fan are madder than Griff Tannen.
7:36: The Penguins catch the Devils in a line change. Brooks Oprik makes a marvelous pass from behind the right faceoff circle in the Penguins end to Jordan Staal just in front of the Devils' blue line. Staal brings the puck into the Devils' zone with Malkin on a 2-0. He slides the puck to Malkin who blasts it buy a helpless Brodeur for a goal. But wait. The officials rule that the Penguins had too many men on the ice. Despite the protests of fans, video replays show Crosby was a little slow to leave the ice after jousting with Zubrus in front of the team's benches. In addition to losing the goal, the Penguins now have to kill a penalty. Michel Therrien is madder than Buford 'Mad Dog' Tannen.
5:39: The hole gets a little deeper as Gonchar takes a hooking penalty.
5:30: Adam Hall wins a big faceoff in his own end and forces a clearing attempt to center ice. As the penalty for too many men on the ice expires, Sykora comes flying out of the penalty box and picks up the loose puck. He shoots low on Brodeur, but the Devils netminder makes the save with his left leg.
5:12: A loose puck caroms into the Penguins crease and Fleury tries to flop on to it to stop play. He's unable to and with about 39 players in the crease, Zajac is able to spot the loose puck and sneak it in. As an official calls it a goal, Fleury and Scuderi are livid and they each throw the net against the boards. Fleury needs to be restrained as he goes after the official who called the goal. Penguins fans begin throwing debris one the ice. Video replays confirm the goal. Devils 4-3.
4:57: Andy Grene takes a delay of game penalty after shooting the puck into the stands. Penguins fans let out a Bronx cheer for the officials who call a penalty on the Devils after six straight against the Penguins. As we come back from commercial, we are treated to Malkin's "breakout" goal from last season:
That never gets old.
2:06: With a man already in the box, former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin takes a holding penalty and gives the Penguins a two-man advantage.
1:18: Malkin takes a cross-ice pass from Crosby and blasts a slapper by Brodeur. Devils 4, Penguins 4.
0:20: Ryan Malone does one of the stupidest things we've ever seen in a Penguins game since the days of Hans Jonsson. In the corner he falls and braces himself by briefly wrapping his arms around Vitaly Vishnevski. Two minutes for holding. Easy call. But Malone picks up the puck and shows up the officials by trying to hand it to them. He then spikes the puck into the ice, goes into the box and slams his stick off the glass. Those actions earn him two more minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct. It's an absolutely stupid move by Malone that will put the Penguins on the penalty kill on fresh ice for the almost four minutes to begin the third period.
0:00: End of period. Devils 4, Penguins 4.
-It's a boring intermission by any standard. The most notable thing to happen is a video of assistant coach Mike Yeo's kid playing on the ice in between periods.
17:28: Colby Armstrong comes down the left side with a short-handed opportunity. He fires a wrister well over Brodeur's head, gets tripped up and takes out Brodeur. Armstrong certainly didn't mean to knock over Brodeur, but we have a feeling he didn't exactly try to avoid him.
16:30: Rachunek picks off Armstrong with a screen, but nothing is called.
16:20: The Penguins kill off Malone's foolish penalties with out much of a scare.
13:38: Crosby steals a puck off of Martin. As he enters the offensive zone, Crosby falls onto his behind but is still able to get a perfect pass over to Sykora. Unfortunately for the Penguins, Sykora gets in touch with his inner "Ouellet" and shoots the puck wide.
9:22: Parise sends a pass along the goal-line to Arron Asham who bangs it home. Devils 5-4.
6:46: Parise comes into the Penguins' zone with the puck but is thumped into the boards with a solid check by Crosby. The Penguins captain appears to interfere with Parise and is called for tripping. Along the boards, Crosby puts an elbow into Asham and in return Asham jabs Crosby in the face. A scrum ensues. Roberts tries to crush Asham's skull but is restrained by a Devil and an official. Asham is called for two roughing penalties while Roberts gets one.
2:26: Armstrong generates the Penguins' best opportunity this period as he calmly sends a wrist shot on net hoping for a rebound. Brodeur calmly knocks it down and freezes the puck.
1:23: Fleury has a brain cramp. He tries to play the puck behind the net but Patrik Elias steals it and tries to feed it to Gionta. Gionta has an empty net to shoot at, but Whitney is able to block the shot with is stick.
0:46: Fleury leaves the ice for an extra attacker.
0:22: Malkin goes offside and play is stopped. Michel Therrien calls a time-out.
0:00: End of game. Devils 5, Penguins 4.
-When's the last time you saw a Devils game with a total of 65 shots on goal? Brent Sutter has the Devils thinking offense.
-Maxime Talbot is leading the Penguins in goal-scoring with four. Weird.
-The Penguins' power play worked well going 3-for-5.
-Attendance was only 16,990.
-Colby Armstrong and Brent Sutter are cool.
YOU STAY CLASSY PITTSBURGH
While the shower of debris that rained down on the ice during the second period, was hardly the finest moment for Penguins fans, a pair of Devils fans were impressed by the Penguins faithful:
"We're Devils fans and bloggers who drove from New Jersey to attend Wednesday's Penguins-Devils game. We're huge fans of yours -- we've been reading Empty Netters from the beginning; keep up the good work! We wanted to drop you all a line to offer a sincere thank you to Pittsburgh fans for being awesome.
We've been to a lot of arenas over the years where we've felt less than welcome as representatives of the away squad. But tonight, as soon as the officiating took a turn for the ugly and the mouse pads (and the odd beer) starting raining from the sky we began to fear for our safety should our boys eke out with a win. But when the final buzzer sounded we were pleased to discover every usher and every fan treated us with respect, courtesy, even good natured ribbing.
Pens fans, you all are a fantastic crowd! We're hoping should any of you find yourselves in Newark for a Pens game that you are given an equally welcoming reaction." - A couple of really happy Devils fans, Pookie and Schnookie, Interchangeable Parts.
EN-What's the difference between Bigfoot and Devils fans? Bigfoot has allegedly been seen within the last 15 years.
(We kid, we kid.)
We've been witness to (and the source of) a lot of venomous feelings directed at Flyers and Maple Leafs fans in the past at Mellon Arena. There's something about those two fan bases that just deserve anything said about their mothers or their low sloping foreheads. At least that's what we told the magistrate.
That said, we've rarely seen Penguins fans treat the loyal followers of other teams too harshly at Mellon Arena.
Showing up on the road to root for your team is something that requires some guts (as well as a little bit of cash). Despite a somewhat frustrating game, it's nice to know that Penguins fans treated these two braves souls with common decency.
You can read about their trip to Pittsburgh here.
EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS
-The Wheeling Nailers and Johnstown Chiefs begin the ECHL season tonight.
-The 2 Man Advantage staged a shirtless interview with former Rangers and Islanders general manager Neil Smith.
(Kudos to The Pensblog for spotting this.)
-The Thrashers fired coach Bob Hartley after starting the season 0-6-0. General manager Don Waddell will assume coaching duties on an interim basis.
-Things are getting a little rough for Bryan McCabe in Toronto.
-Montreal's Tom Kostopoulos and Florida's Noah Welch, both former Penguins, went at it Tuesday night:
It wasn't exactly McSorley-Probert.
-Blue Jackets forward Fredrik Modin will be out 7-10 days with a groin tear.
-If you didn't catch the move Kings forward Anze Kopitar pulled off for a game-winning shootout goal Tuesday night in a 4-3 win against the Wild, do yourself a favor and catch it here:
-Oilers defenseman Sheldon Souray is out indefinitely with a separated shoulder.
PEOPLE READ US
-A few days ago, we posted a video of Mario Lemieux's 500th goal. A reader was in attendance for that game and offers some thoughts on that night:
"I was at the game where Mario got his 500th. I was at a week-long training session for my new job, bored out of my gourd, and was pleased to see that the Islanders had a home game while I was there to relieve some of the walking dead that we call Nassau County. That it was against the Penguins made it even better. Things that stand out most for me on that game:
1) There was nobody there. I easily bought a single ticket, and while most everything was sold out in the lower bowl, not many of those ticket holders were actually there.
2) The Penguins' defense and goaltending that day were horrible. The Islanders had an AHL team out there for much of the game, but they stayed in it.
3) Between the first and second periods, I saw for the first time that "sumo" game, where people get into those large, inflatable sumo costumes and try and wrestle each other to the ground/ice. I laughed so hard, I think I peed myself.
4) The Lemieux goal happened so quickly after another one that the Pens had just scored. I didn't even realize what was going on.
5) I fell in love with Ron Francis all over again that day. A truly great player." -Raphe Cheli, Chicago
First of, Raphe Cheli is an awesome name.
Second, any team with Dmitri Mironov on the blueline won't be considered a defensive juggernaut.
First Published October 18, 2007 1:32 pm