The last two Devils games have been delights to watch. Dismantling the Islanders after 11 months of frustration was pure joy on Saturday afternoon. Normally the only thing that should give you that much heartburn for that long is the Long Island Expressway. Today’s game in the nation’s capitol was fun in a different way. Over the past few years, the Devils haven’t always been a strong matinee team, whether from disruption to the usual pre-game schedule or from short-spacing games and practices. A pair of afternoon delights with the shutdown of the Ovechkin skyrocket in flight was twice as good as the double entendre might suggest. Elias has six points in four games; Parise’s point streak was stopped at six games; but scoring once again game fairly evenly across the board. When opponents can’t focus on shutting down the top line and then playing even up across three lines there’s inherently more pressure on them from the first face-off. This is a good thing.
Best of all, the Devils are now sitting on the top of the Eastern heap for the first time in about seven years. Just to put it in perspective, the last time the Devils had sole possession of the #1 conference seed (even temporarily), nobody had heard of blogs, Google or Facebook; Yahoo was cool and not about to be a node in the Borg matrix; and some of us still believed that the NASDAQ would go back to its pre-bubble heights. The only thing that’s remained constant is the work ethic from the black and red.
There are twenty games left, so no ken a horas, and a pair of points separates an awful lot of teams. But for everyone who counted on the Rangers while counting out the Devils, I’ll add this: Some history does repeat itself.