Just when you think you’d seen it all, a game like yesterday happens where it’s so preposterous you start believing in divine intervention and curses.
Yesterday wasn’t just another frustrating loss after regulation (this time in a shootout), dropping the Devils’ season record to 0-6 in extra time. It’s a loss that has to get the team thinking it’s cursed in overtime, and Cory Schneider vexed in getting a win period. Cory starting is the reason I really didn’t watch much of this game – I just couldn’t deal with seeing him for a full game, and the first period seemingly justified that decision when the team scored three goals, including two by Kyle Palmieri playing against the team he started his career with…but it only led to a tie at the end of the first period because of our usual bad goaltending and bad defense. To wit:
- Goal #1: Long-range screen that Cory couldn’t adjust to
- Goal #2: An own goal off of Stefan Noesen that was only the prelude to worse ahead
- Goal #3: A short-side special which you could argue was the only bad one Cory allowed during the hockey game. Even on that goal, Damon Severson dissapeared drifting toward the offensive zone on a delayed penalty rather than covering down low.
I was actually half-expecting to see that Keith Kinkaid was coming in for Cory after that first period, especially since the game was still winnable given the Devils were scoring against Ducks backup Ryan Miller. But no, the only one benched was Noesen – for the entire second period after not only that own goal but for poor play in general. Even when Brett Seney scored off a rebound in the middle of the second period which got Miller pulled in favor of John Gibson, I didn’t really believe we were going to win the game. How could I? A one-goal lead going into the third period is basically like playing with a tie.
Yet not even I could believe just how we were going to blow this one.
I didn’t actually turn it on until I saw it was midway through the third period and I saw the game was already tied…figures. For some reason I kept it on long enough to see the coup de grace hideous goal of the night – from Andy Greene. After killing off a Ducks penalty, Schneider actually made a great save off a rebound, only to be upended by his own defenseman who unconscionably tried to swat the puck over the net with his stick and wound up perfectly depositing the puck IN the net. If you just want to see this goal, FF to about six minutes of the game highlight above, you’ll laugh if you don’t cry. My annoyance turned into utter disbelief when I found out the tying goal was also deflected past Cory by another Devils defenseman (Ben Lovejoy). These weren’t just unlucky deflections or brilliant bank plays Wayne Gretzky-style, these were actual, honest-to-goodness own goals.
Seriously now, did Cory drink some of Jobu’s rum before the season?
I turned it back off till the end of regulation when once again Marcus Johansson came up with some 6-on-5 magic to tie the game in the last minute, salvaging a point and another chance to finally get Cory off the win schneid in 2018 (no I’m no longer counting the playoff win, especially since the team themselves seems bothered by Cory being 0-for-2018). I had to watch the OT even though I knew what was coming. Ironically Cory actually made a handful of great saves to finally get the Devils through OT to a shootout, but the shootout proved no luckier than 3-on-3 has been this season as Palmieri and Taylor Hall fired blanks while Cory gave up two shootout goals, and once again lost in his personal 2018 from hell.
While it’s hard to really have sympathy for Cory given his record and the fact five goals went in plus two in the shootout, fact is 99% of the time when you score five goals and give up ‘only’ one clunker you should win a game. This is just never going to end, is it? Maybe when 2018 ends. You can tell the team themselves is pressing just by the fact they somehow scored three own-goals on Cory. I’ve never seen that in hockey or soccer before, and I never want to again.