I learned many things today: Continental Airlines Arena can be quite loud when the fans are hungry for a win. Scott Gomez’ rear end is the cause of good deflections (it wasn’t his leg, it was his butt, the play was in front of us). Tommy Albelin is an exemplary over-40 hockey player (and he’s one of the humblest, nicest guys you’ll ever meet). But perhaps the most important thing I learned today is to never, ever wear open-toed shoes into the men’s room at the arena when the Devils score a goal. Most wives and girlfriends will profess that our aim isn’t great when we’re focused on the game. And when the game permeates the bathroom via the foghorn, well, a warm feeling is shared by all.
I didn’t build a huge prelude to the game. We weren’t there for the opening face-off because we were finishing a Little League game. I wore my brand new Elias Metallurg jersey, which got some great comments and stares from the Section 232 crew. I ate my pretzel before the chicken since the pretzel was a sort-of lunch leftover from Little League, and the chicken was an early late afternoon pre-dinner snack.
Oh yeah, the Devils put three goals in during the first period, two more going the long way away from our seats, and our house was broomless. Lou did an amazing job juggling the lines, keeping everyone’s legs fresh. Paul Martin led all skaters with 24 minutes on the ice, and nobody looked tired (except for Kozlov, who looked like he just left the Metallurg cement factory with free samples in his skates).
I didn’t foreshadow this one, but the Devils players did: their cars were parked in the South Mountain lot today, just as they are for any other home-and-home series. What I’ll do, however, is remember a bit of the 2000 playoffs, when the Devils were down 3-1 to Philly, and I was forced to listen to Game 5 via out of market radio broadcast from a hotel room in Boston. The hotel manager still has no idea why I was screaming “Freakin’ Brylin” loud enough to wake the people in the next room.
I’ll be in a hotel the night that Game 6 is scheduled. Coincidence?