Perhaps the only good thing about tonight’s latest Devils disaster is that it’s over. If you’re going to lose, might as well lose by a lot so at least the fans who waste their time and money going to games can peel out early. Many of us did when a 2-2 game late in the second period turned into 5-2 just like that early in the third period thanks to bad bounces, and bad goaltending from Cory Schneider. Maybe I’m the problem…I still haven’t seen a good Cory performance live or even on TV since last year in the playoffs. Of course, I haven’t seen a good Devil performance period at the Rock since the calendar turned to 2019 (the count now is 0-5 for my games attended, being outscored 23-11). So forgive me if I just become less and less willing to not only attend and watch games, but comment on them as well.
This was certainly a one step forward, two steps back game for Cory who’d been better lately in his last few games but reverted back to 2018 form tonight, especially with his (usually) hideous puckhandling on both the second and third goals of the night, followed by a horribly soft goal early in the third period that brought back visions of the Vegas game in December. Even before Cory rode into action the start of the game was frustrating when that annoying clown Kurtis Gabriel made his presence known with a stupid, unneccesary boarding penalty that cost us a five-minute major early in the first period.
Amazingly enough, the Devils managed to kill off the entire five-minute penalty clean. That should have been enough to gain momentum for quite some time…until Drew Stafford struck taking another minor penalty and finally the PK’ers cracked allowing a goal. I almost blame myself in the sense that I usually don’t leave my seat during the game – but because there was no commercial for the first fourteen minutes of play I figured I’d be safe going over to the boardwalk stand to try the funnel cake fries cause there’d be a lot of stoppages coming up, of course I was in the hall when the Flyers did break the deadlock. From there, the rest of the first period was awful and Cory’s pathetic attempt to stickhandle the puck led to him shoveling the puck towards an onrushing Flyer leading to a breakdown in front of the net for goal #2.
However, just when it looked like it was going to be another one of those games, the Devils showed a pulse in the second period and had one of the best twenty minutes I’ve seen from them in weeks – getting rewarded for their good play with two goals from Damon Severson and Jesper Bratt, both off rebounds in front. At least we got to see Bratt again this season, which is probably more than I can say for Taylor Hall at the moment after word came down earlier this week he had arthroscopic knee surgery. Guess that was his ‘day-to-day’ injury for the last two months going on three, eh?
Anyway, the Devils looked to be in good shape – game tied, momentum turning and I didn’t think much of things toward the end of the second period when a nice lady in our section started passing around little mass-produced Devils bags, I guess they’re called drawstring bags. So I was paying attention to the bag and putting my season ticket t-shirt giveaways in them when the crowd roared…for a Flyers goal. Yep there was a definite Flyer fan invasion at the Rock tonight, more than I’ve ever heard here. I never even saw the play until just now. This one seemed a bit more fluky as Cory had to play the puck woth Tomas Konecny bearing down on him and it took multiple deflections before winding up in the net, but it’s the kinds of things that just happen way too often to this star-crossed goaltender.
What a momentum killer that turned out to be. Seemed that Cory was shot for the night after that, as he allowed a Charmin-soft fourth goal and the rout was on, especially after Ivan Provorov’s deflection made it 5-2 and sent many of the Devil fan contingent including me toward the exits. I missed the unneccesary and needless goonery afterward, but a goonfest is the last thing we need right now with our current injury list, which only grew by a handful tonight. Gabriel left after going to the concussion protocol when Nolan Patrick ostensibly cheap-shotted him. I obviously didn’t see that but when you yourself start running people early in the game, you have to expect it’ll come around the other way eventually. Blake Pietila and Nathan Bastian also left with injuries, Bastian’s the most annoying since it came in a collision with teammate Nick Lappin. If that’s not indiciative of the way things have been going lately, nothing is.