First things first:
Welcome back, Sami! It was fantastic to see you sorting the pucks during the warm-ups. (Kukkie did a good job filling in, but it just wasn't the same.)
Starting Line-up: Biron, Jones, Timonen, Umberger, Lupul, Briere
Not-So-Fun Fact: Brodeur is gunning for his 500th win, and sitting at 499 has to be ticking him off. After our last pounding by the Devils, I'm pretty sure they plan to do it again to ensure Jersey Marty gets his record.
The puck dropped, play started, and after only a short time, I was not happy.
The game was flat. Well on my way to completing two decades of being a hockey fan, I have seen this style of play from New Jersey before. And, man, it's an energy killer unless the opposing team comes out in a big way right from the top.
As the period progressed, the Devils fans were the only ones with anything happy to say about it.
Kristin and I hoped for the mood shift that generally accompanies the second period in a Flyers game this season. It didn't really happen.
Play was interrupted for a relatively minor all-hands-on-deck scrum in the no-man's-land between the benches. Rory Fitzpatrick, thank you for making it clear to your dancing partner that while they can come to play in the Wachovia Center, Devils players are not welcome on the Flyers bench.
Richie's goal was a thing of beauty! The assists were by Upshall and Timonen. I know that I screamed with joy for that one. The biggest plus was being right on the other side of the glass and seeing the whole thing go down from such close proximity.
(And he says he's not an All-Star. Mike, I sincerely and whole-heartedly disagree. I'll be writing you in on the ballot as many times as I can stand it.)
Marty was pulled and Niitty was put in. I'm not sure, but the Ookies over at Interchangeable Parts may have been screaming in fear.
The prospects to comeback and tie it up were looking fairly dismal, but I wanted the guys to put another one on the board. Did you know that Scottie Upshall is the most accommodating player after Richie? He only made us wait 27 seconds before wristing one past Brodeur. The assists were by the Mikes (Richards and Knuble).
Kristin and I were speculating on how tiny Gionta really is during the second. After his goal in the third, we pulled out the iPhone and researched the matter. Statbits list him at 5'7". I believe he was wearing tall shoes the day that was recorded because it would make him only three inches shorter than Briere, who looked positively gargantuan in comparison.
And speaking of Briere, he was robbed by the master. Congrats to Brodeur on achieving 500 tonight. (Hey, he's closing in on St. Patrick. Only 52 more to go.)
Ookies: Please clarify the conditions that must be met for the Devils to not score against the back-up netminder. Does it only happen at your place? Must the switch occur during live play, rather than between periods? Does it need to happen before the third period?
Points Update: Richie's 2 points bumps him to 23 (11 G, 12 A), while Briere is stuck at 20.
Final Score: Totally Depressing