This was the team with four losses in five games. The team with cap problems which on some nights was forced to ice less skaters than it should.
This was the team that shut out the Montreal Canadiens 3-0 on Thursday night.
My wife mentioned to me during this sad-fest that the Devils’ goalie was both lucky and good, and I explained that it was Martin Brodeur, a Montreal boy whose father Denis had been the Canadiens photographer for years, that young Martin had grown up a Habs fan, and he had plenty of family and friends in the stands watching once again as he did well against the good guys.
My wife then asked why he wasn’t playing for Montreal and I told her these players, when they’re young, don’t have a choice where they end up and he’s stayed in New Jersey, the team that picked him, for all of his long career. If they did have a choice, maybe Mario Lemieux would’ve been a Hab too.
It’s not fair, she added quietly.
But enough about the enemy. What about the Habs?
They didn’t bring their A game. Maybe their B game. Maybe even C. Was it too many days off (four and a half)? Could it be the Devils’ stifling system? I don’t know. The puck bounced around, passes missed the mark, pucks missed the New Jersey net, penalties disrupted any momentum.
Whatever you can think of is fine with me. It was probably all there. They had their chances to be sure but that’s where Martin Brodeur came in.
Whatever. We wait all week for this game and thud, it hits us like a safe dropped on our heads from a balcony.
Montreal scorers were – the guy three rows up with the blond, the short fellow with the freckle-faced girl in the nosebleeds, the two brothers dating the top-heavy twins, the tall guy getting the redhead drunk in the luxury box, and maybe a thousand or so others scattered about. Other than that, there was no scoring on this night.
Shots on goal – 29-20 for the Habs.
Next up – in Ottawa where the Canadiens attempt to get their shit together.