It has been classic over-rotation in the hockey media: Coverage of the Devils sweep of the Rangers, of Elias’ comeback from his battle with Hep A, of the team winning 15 games in a row. Patty and Klee are on the cover of the current issue of The Hockey News in a game-winning embrace. How cool is it when you have your hero and a snowman in the mainstream media?
But it’s pure over-rotation. The Rangers were done before the playoffs began. The Devils had too long a hiatus coupled with a trip down south where they historically struggle. The winning streak had to end at some point, and I’m happier that it was when there was still momentum to be shed from the over-rotation rather than lost going into the middle of a series.
But tonight’s game was a heart breaker. 20 seconds to go, and we’re dancing. 17 seconds later, we’re watching the Zamboni again, clicking through movie channels waiting for overtime. And then they coughed it up, coming home down 2-0 in games and having been thoroughly out-played, out-hustled and out-positioned. Both the game-tying and game-winning goals were the result of bad defensive positioning: Pandolfo lost sight of Staahl on the knotting goal, and Ken Klee looked like he was out having a sandwich on the game winner. Sure, Paul Martin made a nice move, but where was the defense getting back into the house before that was necessary?
Whitey, we miss you.
If the Devils can even this up 2-2 at home between now and Mother’s Day, it’s a 2 out of 3 series, and they only have to win one in the state where tobacco is a vegetable. Then again, that’s what I said last weekend, when the Devils flywheel had momentum. Time to step it up, across the board: players, coaches, equipment managers, fans, broadcasters, kids, everyone who wants to see this go six games.
I still believe, but my Devils-loving heart can’t take much more rotation.