Hello there!! I'm sure you either already know me and what I've done in the past (10 years of Devils recaps, mostly through emails and a Devils Mailing list, but also archived somewhat on www.crasherline.net) or you have no idea who the fuck I am and could really care less about some boring introduction from me and who I am... so I'll spare the bullshit and just get to what you wanted to read here!
But I will bore you (well not too much I hope) with what I think the keys to this series are.... for the Devils:
--Martin Brodeur MUST be Martin Brodeur and not the poster boy for average goaltending he was in the first round (again there's no need for him to EVER play 78 games like he did this year in the regular season)
--the scorers need to keep scoring (re: Gomez, Gionta, Parise and Langenbrunner)
--I don't think this Devils team is built to shut ANYONE down anymore (and the 7 playoff games this year show this), but John Madden/Jay Pandolfo/Sergei Brylin MUST be better then they were last series (and should be because Ottawa is better but not FASTER then Tampa is)
And now what Ottawa needs:
--Stay the course, they SMOKED a really good and high tempo Penguins team making them look like minor leaguers in the process (well aside of Fleury and Crosby)
--Don't fear the Madden match-up... like I just stated, the Devils shut down line ain't what it used to be and if you can use that match-up to keep the Devils offensive guns off the ice... go for it!
--Depth and Grinding... Ottawa can go four lines and six D... I don't know if the Devils can
-- Joe Corvo... watch this man UNLOAD from the point if the Devils give him time on the power play.. his shot is scary good....
-- Ray Emery, average is good enough with the team he has in front of him and I think he's better for the most then he gets credit for (he was bad tonight though)
Tonight's game was a baffling, hard to explain contest, much like most of the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals (well what you could endure of Gary Thorne and Bill Clement's ear bleeding play by plays of the games).... anytime one team took control of the game and it looked like it was time to go home... Case in point 4-0 Ottawa when Martin Brodeur was missing saves like me on the roller hockey rink 4 hours into a 95 degree game session in July)... Ottawa took a quick lead 90 seconds into the contest (and the stats show like 80% of the team's who score first win this year) and then just steamrolled the Devils most of the period keeping them bottled up and just looking worse then the Atlanta Thrashers did last round...but then just as Dean McAmmond scored a brutal shorthanded goal that had every fan in the building (and if you expect me to comment on the attendance go find a tall building to jump off, because any fan who endures that out of date inaccessible shithole deserves a medal and 50% discount on our entrance into a civilized arena!), but a minute after ruling the game over... Travis Zajac gives you a flicker of life to hold onto into the second period and the Devils Storm the Castle and make a game out of it, cutting the lead to 4-3 with good effort and equally as BAD goaltending from Ray Emery (it was like he said "Hey Marty any suck you can do I can do better!") and two long goals by Brian Gionta and Andy Green making it a hockey game again.
But the big comeback was not to be as the 3rd period arrived and only 43 seconds into the period Wade Redden iced the game with another seemingly stoppable wrister (at least from my seats in Section 216)... and that made the hill too big to climb over and only some more Zach Parise magic with 30 seconds to go (does any team score more with the empty net then the Devils do?) made it just mildly interesting... and not bad for the league's most boring team ... yeah you know... the one on top of all the offensive stats (2 guys with 7 goals and Gomez near the top in assists, points and contract demands!) and the only team left playing with a worse team GAA is the San Jose Sharks, but that will change once Nabokov's Shutout is added into the stats.... so yeah it is boring... we get 3-5 goals a game from the same freaking guys!!! Makes you wonder what a difference even half a Patrik Elias would have done in this game on the top line instead of the unimpressive Erik Rasmussen and the overwhelmed by the playoffs David Clarkson.... but that's why they play seven games right ???