|Prince at Devils Home Opener|
After work I went out to Newark, NJ to the Prudential Center to see my first NHL game since the lockout ended. The Devils were playing their home opener against their division rival, the Philadelphia Flyers.
I wound up meeting the King and our pal Vincent Ascanio out there. I decided to get the pulled pork for dinner at the arena. By doing so, I got to say hello to the lady who works that stand which is behind the net near section 122 where the Diablos sit. It was great to see her again. She was thrilled to see us hockey fans again. I proceeded to walk over to my seat in section 226.
The sellout crowd was all pumped up as the players hit the ice. Our section in particular was extremely loud and confrontational because we had a mix of Devil and Flyer fans among us. It was mainly comprised of the younger generation so they were all full of energy. They were yelling and screaming throughout the game. It was anything but peaceful. With that being said, hockey was back.
As for the game we saw, the Devils got on the scoreboard early as Travis Zajac scored the first goal of the game just 1:07 into the match. The Devils added another goal on the power play with just 25 seconds to go in the first period as David Clarkson buried the biscuit to give the Devils a 2-0 after the first period. In the second period, while the Devils were shorthanded, Ilya Kovalchuk broke in on a breakaway and he was hooked down by Flyers' defenseman Kimmo Timonen 2:44 into the period. As a result, a penalty shot was awarded. Kovalchuk capitalized on the opportunity and he gave the Devils a commanding 3-0 lead. That's the way it ended as the Devils stifled the Flyers the rest of the game. The Flyers took out their frustration as they started a few fights late in the third period. Goaltender Martin Brodeur stopped 24 shots to earn the shutout, it was his 120th lifetime in his storied career.
Wednesday night after work I went home. I ate dinner then I did my laundry.
Thursday night after work I went to Brooklyn Heights to see college basketball. It was the 38th annual Battle of Brooklyn as the LIU Blackbirds were visiting the St. Francis Terriers. Before I went to the game I stopped off for a hearty Popeye's chicken dinner a few blocks away.
When I got to the gym for the game I was joined by my pals Manny Morales, Phil Butleman, David Sack, Frank Anichiarico and the King.
As for the game we saw, the Terriers got off to a fast start. They dominated the first half as they led 33-21 at halftime. In the second half, things changed dramatically as the Blackbirds awoke from the dead as they went on to destroy the Terriers. They out scored them 57-35 in the second half as they won the game and the Battle of Brooklyn trophy, 78-68. C.J. Garner had 22 points and Jamal Olasewere added 20 points to carry the Blackbirds to the come from behind victory.
Friday night after work I went back to Newark, NJ to see the Devils play the Washington Capitals. On this night, since the King and I are Devil full season ticket holders we got to take advantage of a perk. We were given an upgrade to watch the game from the Ice Cream Social Suite. Before we went into the suite, I bought a pepperoni stromboli for dinner.
Unlike Tuesday night, we were able to watch the game much more peacefully. It was great to see the game from a different vantage point. We wound up in suite 234 which is in the corner. They had another sellout crowd on hand.
It's hard to gauge if people are really hungry for hockey or not. Many people had already paid for their season tickets like us so we were stuck with them. We love hockey so for the King and I it's nice that it's back. Next season will tell the true story if the lockout really indeed hurt the sport when people have the choice to renew their tickets or not.
As for the game we saw, the Devils got off to a good start. They scored 13:55 into the first period when Stephen Gionta found the net to give the Devils a 1-0 lead. With a minute to go in the second period, Patrik Elias scored a power play goal to extend the Devils' lead to 2-0. In the third period, the Capitals finally got on the scoreboard as Mike Ribeiro tallied a power play goal with 7:15 left in the period to slice the lead in half at 2-1. With 2:56 left in regulation time, the Capitals got the equalizer as defenseman Mike Green lit the lamp to knot the game at two. The score remained the same as regulation time expired. In the sudden death overtime, the Devils' Ilya Kovalchuk emerged as the hero as he scored the game winning goal with just 20.5 seconds left in the extra session to give the Devils' a 3-2 victory.
Stay tuned as I'm going to do a few special posts that will recap another busy weekend of attending sporting events.
Thank you for reading and following along.