April 21, 2007

Devils 3, Lightning 0

There it was. The game we've all been waiting for.

If you look at the stats, particularly the 31-14 shots on goal in favor of Tampa Bay, you never would have guessed that this was the game the Devils win 3-0. It just didn't look like it. But it was all about Martin Brodeur, and to a lesser extent, about the multitude of blocked shots by the Devils defensemen.

It's hard to complain when you win 3-0, that's for sure. The extremely low shots on goal tally was a nuisance, though. But you can't say the Devils didn't play smart hockey. They did. They contained and were physical. The defense had lapses as they always do, and some of them almost cost the Devils, but Marty was there making 31 saves on 31 shots. It's about dang time. That gets everybody pumped up, and a huge win to push the series in the Devils favor. They will be riding the momentum high tomorrow afternoon as they try to wrap it up in Florida. Andy Greene got the scoring going midway through the first, Gionta had a nice goal on a very nice play midway through the second period, and Gomez threw one into the empty net in the late stages of the game.

Not much else to say, it was beautiful. The energy was definitely there, and the intellect as well. What was annoying happened at the end of the game when Torterella thought it appropriate to rack up as many game misconducts and fighting penalties as possible, sending out the goons to rough up the Devils players. It was a classless act, and one that hopefully not only gets the Lightning revved up, but also gets the Devils ready to deliver some punishment. I understand he needs to send a message to his team, but that was pretty dumb. Other than that, no complaints about the game. A good one, a truly good one.

The Devils are the only team left in the East still battling in a series and that outcome will decide many things in the East due to re-seeding. Either the Devils will host the Senators or the Sabres will host the Lightning.

Reds 2, Phillies 1 (10 innings)


Pitching: Does it get any better from Kyle Lohse? This man is simply a beast, ladies and gents. I have no doubts he'll have a rough outing sooner rather than later, but what a workhorse. I don't think anybody called this, though I may have been the closest. 7 innings, 6 hits, 1 unearned run, mixing in a walk and 4 K's. Beautiful stuff. It almost wasn't enough, either as Lieber on the other side was shutting the Reds down in a similar fashion. Lohse didn't get the win, though. That was given to little ole' Jonny Coutlangus, pitching the top of the 10th for a K, hit batter, and a double play. In between was Stanton with a clean 8th, nearly identical to Coutlangus' inning, with a pop-up, hit batter, and double play. What's up with the Reds pitcher hitting guys? Is that some newfound fetish? Hard to say for sure. Coffey got the 9th and gave up a single, but K'ed 2. Nice effort from top to bottom tonight with 0 earned runs among 4 guys.

Hitting: The good news for the Reds is that, even though they were getting mowed down by Lieber, he left the game in the 6th inning after only throwing 77 pitches. Not sure what the rational behind that was, but it helped though not quite as much as I had been hoping. Lieber gave up a hit and a walk, and that was it. Nothing too dangerous. He was pulled in the 6th after Freel got on and advanced on two different errors. Bases were loaded for the Reds, but EdE grounded out to end the threat. And so the end of the game, or so it seemed. But in the bottom of the 9th, with 2 outs, the legendary comeback scenario, Hatteberg hit a home run off of Tom Gordon and we go to extras. Phillies go 1-2-3. Reds load the bases on a walk, a single, and a walk. Phillips up to bat and he puts a single past the infield. Game over, Reds win.

Fielding & such: Wasn't great for anybody, really. Nunez & Lieber had back-to-back errors that allowed Freel to get to third base and may have taken Lieber out of the game, helpful to the Reds. The only run the Phillies got was on a double error by Hatteberg and Phillips, oddly enough the two guys who would tie and win the game for the Reds. So you roll the bad karma with the good karma and that's what you get on this day. Phillips also stole a base, and was involved in 3 double plays with Gonzo. Good stuff there. Not a bad game, actually. Just this sinking feeling the entire time and then the heroic situation for Hatteberg. Good stuff. Phillies are the worst team in the league, keep in mind.