Carolina defeated New Jersey 3-2 in thrilling fashion on Monday night, taking a 2-0 lead in the best of seven series. Headed up to the Meadowlands, the Devils are in a "must win" situation when the series resumes on Wednesday night.
This was a very exciting game, and it had lots of high points, but I can't pretend that it was a spectacular all around effort by the Canes. They made lots of mistakes, particularly early. However, they made the proper adjustments and took control of the game in the second.
In the third, the game seemed destined for overtime until Scott Gomez got a pinball goal with 20 seconds to play in the third. At this point, I was very disappointed to see flocks of Canes fans head for the exits, trying to save themselves 21 seconds of commute time. I've always thought it to be incredibly asinine to leave a sporting event early, even if it's a complete blowout.¹
When some of these folks had already made their way outside the building, Eric Staal scored the biggest goal of his career, tying the game at 19:57 of the third, forcing overtime. According to a caller to the post-game call-in show, the arena staff had no choice but to let them back in, despite it being against arena policy.
It was a massive goal, and a tremendous momentum shift. You could almost feel the air releasing from the Devils, as if they were an inflatable toy.
Then, at 3:09 of the fourth frame, Carolina defenseman Nic Wallin slipped one past Brodeur to win the game. It was Wallin's first goal of this postseason, and the third postseason goal of his career. All three tallies have been overtime game winners. This is precisely why he has the nickname "secret weapon".
Once again, Cam Ward was great. Mike Commodore was nothing short of awesome on defense, and jeez. JEEZ!!! What can I say about Eric Staal? Big time. Big, big time.
I only returned home from the game minutes ago, and I haven't had time to watch the DVR of it. The Wallin goal was under review for about a minute and a half, but I don't know why. Nicky came into Brodeur's crease, and there may have been some contact, but the on-ice call was "goal". As you may or may not know, the center ice ref can (and has this postseason) come out of the clear blue sky, 100 feet away to overrule the call, indicating interference with the goaltender. This was not done, and I have no idea what was under review. Goaltender interference is a NON-REVIEWABLE thing. They certainly didn't explain it in the arena, and I have no idea what they were saying on tv.
I got some pretty good "video" footage of both the game-winning goal, the ensuing mayhem, the referee's review of the play, and the ensuing pandemonium. I've never posted my own video before, but I'm working on getting that up. Hopefully very soon. You'll like it.
EDIT The video of the crowd chanting "goal, goal, goal" and the ref signalling "goal" is up. Sorry that it's not film studio quality.
EDIT #2 According to 850 the Buzz (the blog), the play was under review because the puck went in off Wallin's skate. Replays determined that there was no kickig motion, and the the goal was legit. Good job to those guys on the liveblogging.
¹. Minor league baseball is exempt from this rule, as it is exempt from all rules of etiquitte for sporting events. The express purpose of attending a minor league baseball game is to drink beer. The baseball is somewhere around #5 in the list of things going on at the game that night. It's perfectly fine to depart from a minor league baseball as early as you wish. Second inning? Wanna go home? No problem.
3 years ago