Much to my chagrin I did actually stay up till the finish last night’s Devils game in San Jose, which always looked like a sure loss and even more so after two quick goals given up in the first period put us behind the eight-ball to stay in a predictable 5-2 defeat. Not that the Devils were the primary reason I stayed up since I paid no more attention than having them as background noise, but it’s still ironic that of the three WC games I ‘watched’ the most time prohibitive.
My initial plan was to watch for a period then go to bed although I might have let a positive first period influence the decision. And for about twelve minutes things looked good early as the Devils got the first several shots and caught a break when Drew Stafford’s trickler went through Martin Jones for a 1-0 lead. I thought only we were supposed to get bad goaltending?
But of course we would get bad goaltending too, even with Keith Kinkaid in net this time.
As down as I am on Cory Schneider after his 2018, even I know goaltending isn’t the whole issue, but by the same token goaltending certainly isn’t doing anything to help solve the team’s woes either. While Cory’s struggles are well-documented, Keith’s also turned back into a pumpkin after a scintillating February-October over parts of two seasons, and we’re slowly finding out Keith is nothing more than a platoon goalie and not an everyday starter.
Timo Meier’s goal that got the Sharks on the board was both a iffy goal and another WTF was our defense doing moment – this time staff favorite Egor Yakovlev, who peeled off Meier giving him more space to cover another Shark skater who was already being covered. Another rebound goal where fittingly Pavel Zacha was left in the dust in front of the net (our favorite bust, who went three picks before Meier is still stuck on four points for the season) gave the Sharks a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
My plan to go to bed during the first intermission was foiled by a dose of hilarity over a low-scoring fantasy football playoff win I stole, essentially with a late junktime score from Dalvin Cook. Ironically I had the football game on until the Devils were underway then turned it off when I was about nine points behind my game in the middle of the fourth quarter. I didn’t even check the score till the first intermission when I saw to my utter disbelief I won by less than a point.
In a more jovial mood, I stayed up for the second period but I didn’t expect the hockey game to go any better and it didn’t. Some dude name Simek got his first career NHL goal floating a shot through multiple bodies and a screen to make the game 3-1. Perhaps the only good news of the last couple periods is this time Andy Greene actually scored a brilliant goal into the other team’s net for a change, though it was more the work of a hot Kyle Palmieri that created a goal off a well-timed pinch.
Of course the one-goal deficit wouldn’t last as Meier scored yet another goal shortside, almost in an identical spot to the first except this time from the left faceoff circle as opposed to the right. Normally I disdain the ‘we should have drafted player X’ hindsight of NHL drafts but forget about Matt Barzal, we’d even be much better off with Meier over Zacha. At 4-2 I had to go to sleep now, except this time it was the hot stove baseball rumor mill and a wild Mets-Yankees rumor which made the rounds I’m not even going to get into.
So then that and checking all the stuff from the winter meetings kept me up through the second intermission. At a certain point amusment over the Devils’ game itself was the only thing left keeping me awake. Of course a typically low-energy Devils team put up scant resistance in the third period and the game drew to its inevitable conclusion, but at least I did see the best moment of the night clearly or rather the most amusing. With just over five minutes left the Devils committed an icing and then got hit with a delay of game penalty for god knows what, taking too long for the faceoff? Coach John Hynes, perhaps in part out of frustration over anything else gave the officiating crew a piece of his mind:
I was lipreading in live time and he definitely used some ‘colorful’ language. Perhaps the most predictable event in a predictable game came when the Sharks scored eight seconds into the power play. This staff can get bent, it takes us eight minutes to maybe get a power play goal. With that goal, my night mercifully ended and the Devils’ season was that much closer to ending. Sure three points out of six on the West Coast isn’t terrible but you need more than not terrible when you’re puttering around the basement of the Eastern Conference in December. I don’t even check the standings cause it’s too depressing at this point. All I’m looking at is next game which is Vegas at home on Friday, weeee that’ll be another barrel of laughs now that last year’s surprise finalists are playing well again.