April 12, 2007

Devils 5, Lightning 3

First Period:
Zach Parise, DEVILS (no assist)
Patrik Elias, DEVILS, PPG (Gomez, Rafalski)
Martin St. Louis, Lightning, PPG (Richards, Boyle)

Second Period: Brian Rafalski, DEVILS, PPG (Gomez, Langenbrunner)
Vincent Lecavalier, Lightning (no assist)

Third Period: Vincent Lecavalier, Lightning (Prospal, St. Louis)
Zach Parise, DEVILS (Langenbrunner)
Brian Gionta, DEVILS (Gomez, Elias)

Shots on Goal:
26-24 Lightning

Devils - 12 minutes, Lightning - 6 minutes

Nice to be back again. School is crazy right now, but I simply must take time out to cover the playoffs. Hockey playoffs are sweet except for the fact that almost all of the games are on some obscure TV station and not one that I actually get on my television. Unfortunately, that also includes Versus. Anyway, here we go.


Not a bad start, would be better if Oduya would get his frickin' act together. Sheesh. Twice times he pulled a holding call when somebody else was already in the box. These are the two best teams in terms of not being penalized, and this has been a parade to the box all night. What a joke. Anyway, Brodeur didn't face many shots, shut most of them down, but couldn't handle a 5-on-3, which is pretty understandable. The Devils got an early goal from Zach Parise, which is awesomebe cause many of the previews said the Devils young blood has to get hot, and that's what happened. Even better though is that Patrik Elias scored. Better for me, because we need all the major players. Gionta, Gomez, Elias, Langenbrunner, Madden - all those guys who you think of as being Devils. He got a nice pass from Gomez and just slammed it in. Two fairly easy goals and they were shutting down Tampa Bay for the most part. Hard to completely shut down such scorers as Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis, and Vincent LeCavalier forever, especially in dealing with penalties. I think if the Devils stick to 5-on-5 hockey, they can do it. They can't let up, though. They need to keep going strong. You can tell they really feel this is the playoffs. If there was one team to bet on for turning on their game come playoff time, it's the New Jersey Devils. That's always a good feeling. Gotta watch out for the Lightning, though. Gotta pound that weak goalie.


Patrik Elias with another power play goal? It's too dang good to be true, my friends. Except this time wasn't really his own doing, he just happened to be in the right place after Ralf let it rip. Ralf gets an assist, but on those shots, I feel like giving him the goal. Just because it touched Elias along the way doesn't mean that Elias scored it. Unless he did. Ah well. Another goal. Good start. Have to do it. Must not stop. Lots of nothing went on, not even any penalties, until somehow LeCavalier got the puck behind the net, wrapped it around, and it went in behind Marty Brodeur. Always. Always with this guy. How does he score those dang goals every time? The scary part about this series is that the Devils aren't known for scoring many goals, and even when they get 3 goals in a period and a half, it's not enough. Tampa Bay can come back from any deficit - they can score at will. It's a scary thought. Defense must dominate here, they need to choke as much life out of the Lightning offense as possible. Can it be done? We can only hope. The radio is randomly alternating between live action and commercials. It's really pissing me off. Well, I'll be darned, they did change the Elias goal to a Rafalski goal. Good for him. Hard to understand how they got it wrong or how they know they got it right. Anyway, I am much more satisfied, maybe Elias will feel that he got screwed over and will want to score another one. That couldn't hurt right now. Elias almost got one, but not quite. Same for Gomez. The Lightning definitely picked it up in this period, with a lot more opportunities and a lot more reckless play. Brodeur came up with two huge stops, one on LeCav and the other on St. Louis. The two guys with the goals. Truly, other than Richards, there is nobody on this team, but they were good enough to almost get #3 in the East, that's just how dang good those 3 players are. Ridiculous. The Devils just need to hold on. They got a couple good chances, but played a little more loose and Tampa Bay was all over the place. Need to find a way to slow down the pace and preserve the lead, maybe even extend it.


Quick flurry of shots by Tampa Bay. Brodeur flat out robs Tarnasky, that was pretty amazing right there. And now the Devils 3-1 lead becomes a tie game at 3-3. Did I not go over this? You can never let up on Tampa Bay. No lead is safe. They can score on a whim. Who can score? Those 3 dang guys. Nobody else matters. Crush them, squeeze them, trap them, hook them, slap them, punch them. Sickening. The Devils cannot afford to get into a scoring match with this team, it just can't be done. Well, consider me wrong momentarily as Zach Parise gets his 2nd goal of the night on a pretty nice play and the Devils regain the lead. We know the Lightning can do this, it's weird for the Devils to do it, but I don't mind. If they want to score a lot of goals, go ahead. They might need it for this series, thank goodness for Zachary Parise, my dear friends. What a kid. Now we need some defense or something crazy like that. For the moment, it seems there might be some reasonable hockey action going on. It would clearly be in the Devils best interest to slow down the pace of the game. The Devils are playing smartly, now. They are still being opportunistic but are being less risky about it. That's how they're going to have to do it if they want to hold onto this lead. It's a dangerous place to be. Tampa Bay is turning on the juice yet again, but Brodeur got big saves on Prospal and St. Louis. Brodeur has allowed 3 goals on 18 shots, not great, but they have been tough shots, and on top of that, he has made some dang tough saves. Not a wonderful start, but he's doing what he can. He needs more help than what he is getting. HUGE TEST for the Devils right as the first penalty is called in the final frame, and they are now on the penalty kill thanks to Parise's slash. Not much time left in the game, a good kill here would be very helpful to icing this one. Not icing in the rulebook way, but on wrapping it up. You know. The power play is over for Tampa Bay, but they remain in control. Scary stuff here, it's getting late. Just hang on, buddies. You can do it. Thanks to that power play, the Lightning now have more shots on goal than the Devils, 23 to 22. The Devils have a great record when they shoot more. Hopefully they can get some more shots in, maybe even an insurance goal. AND AS SOON AS I SAY IT, AN INSURANCE GOAL IS SCORED!!!!!!!! Wow, I am so good. In what may be the worst play of the playoffs, Holmqvist sent the puck out instead of covering it up, turning it over to Elias, who gave it to Gomez who gave it to Gionta who scores! Game over, baby. The Lightning go down swinging, but they go down nonetheless. Very, very nice. I would not be surprised to see Marc Denis in net Saturday night. I would have expected Holmqvist, but after that critical mistake, it's hard to believe he'll be the goalie.