On the third anniversary of Coach Bruce Boudreau's arrival as bench boss, the boys honored the occasion by giving him - a big, fat goose egg (the boys were shut out for the second time in less than a week - ouch). Meanwhile, the Devils who are without the services of several of their star players, including Zach Parise, Jamie Langenbrunner and future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur, found their offensive game against a listless Caps defense and rookie Braden Holtby. Holtby was given the start after Michal Neuvirth was hurt in practice. Varlamov was rushed up from Chocolatetown but his skates did not get to the arena until the second period and Gabby decided not to play him unless Holtby went down with an injury. Unfortunately, Mike Green and Tyler Sloan joined the ranks of walking wounded along with Mike Knuble andTom Poti (speaking of, #3 can you hurry up with that recovery process? The defense needs you badly - thanks). The extent of their injuries won't be known until later today when the team gets in a much-needed practice in Raleigh. HM is once again thinking that practice might need to include mandatory bag skate judging from last night's pitiful performance.
One of HM’s favorite NHLers, Patrick Elias started the party for the Devils with the first goal. Then at the 3:45 mark, Tyler Sloan obstructed Holtby's movement as he tried to get back into position (the youngster found himself out of position on too many occasions last night but I digress). But alas it was a little too late as Jason Arnott took advantage of the tomfoolery by stuffing the puck.
And the comedy of errors continued into the final minutes of the opening period. Mattias Tedenby managed a clean break and was cut down by Captain Stache, John Erskine. Erskine took out Tedenby and Holtby, giving the young Swede a penalty shot. Tedenby netted a sneaky backhanded shot against the caps goaltender to give the Devils three tallies by period's end. Not a period to remember for the visitors, quite frankly it was eerily reminiscent of Friday's blowout in Blueland.
The second period was not any kinder to the struggling visitors. At 2:43, Jason Arnott lit the lamp for the second time on the night and at 7:48, it was Ovi’s pal Dainius Zubrus' turn. To be quite honest, HM had lost patience at this point and will admit it, I flipped over the Dancing with the Stars finale. That’s a sure sign you know it was bad. Apparently Gabby tried to mix things up (to no avail) by playing with line combinations. The flustered coach moved the Great8 to play with Marcus Johansson and Matt Bradley, hoping that the change of scenery might break his four-game scoreless streak. Matt Hendricks spent some time with mates Alex Semin and Nick Backstrom (a big happy birthday to Mr. Backstrom today by the way).
The teeny highlight of the night was a fight between Matt Hendricks and Adam Mair, as Hendricks tried to energize his troops. On the subject of fighting, Down Goes Brown has a very humorous look at the NHL’s unofficial “Code” here.
Boudreau had this to say about the drubbing: "Everything's a trickle-down effect from the forwards to the defense to the goalie to the coaches. If we fail like this it's everybody's fault," Boudreau said. "It's not just [the defense's] fault. We all have to pick up our socks and find out what's gone wrong in these last three games. You go 8-0-1 and then you go for a crap. It happens, but it hasn't happened to us. I don't like it."
At times like these, HM tries to console herself by reminding herself of the dratted Penguin’s December record the year they won the Stanley Cup. On Frozen Blog makes some great points on the typical ups and downs seen in the grueling regular season as well. Let’s just count our Thanksgiving blessings and hope the boys can right the ship soon, as in starting against the Hurricanes tomorrow.
Speaking of the Canes, HM will be headed down the state of North Carolina for the holidays and I’m hoping to be able to catch the game on TV. As we’ll be in the mountains, I doubt I’ll be able to take in any other Caps action this week so please follow all the fabulous peeps on my blog roll for your up-to-the-minute hockey news.
Hope all of you have a very wonderful and safe holiday – Happy Thanksgiving to all you puckheads and your loved ones!! We all have much to be thankful for – I know I do.