For Whatever Reason, The Pittsburgh Penguins Have Provided The Perfect Prescription For Almost All That's Ailed The Devils
Ah, the Pittsburgh Penguins. Just what the doctor ordered. Of course, considering the "why does everything seem so awesome?"-esque high that accompanied the temporary cure to almost all the symptomatic failures throughout the Devils' lineup of late, it was probably the type of doctor who is due to have his medical license revoked. However, with winning being nothing more than recreational for a young team that - relative to the playoff picture - has played their way into the role of the girlfriend that gets strategically placed on the end due to the entire family's knowledge that they'll soon be able to officially cut her ass out, the occasional optimistic overdose is damn near necessary.
Now, how a team that is a year removed from winning back-to-back Stanley Cups has become the Devils' drug of choice over the last couple of seasons, I'll never know. Crosby and Co. haven't just found a way for their presence to coincide with even the most passing of positivity, they've found a way to up the level of play of key Devils' players to such a degree that a suspicion of steroid use wouldn't be entirely unfair.
Keith Kinkaid has been the goaltender that backstopped the Devils to the playoffs when facing one of the most top-heavy lineups in the league. Counterintuitively, Travis Zajac might legitimately be a Selke candidate if he lined up across the best two-way center in the sport every game. I don't know if he inspired by the fat face of Phil Kessel, but Blake Coleman plays even hungrier in eating up the scoresheet whenever Pittsburgh is on the opposite side of it. Kris Letang could actually learn a thing or two by watching Damon Severson when, and only when, they share the same ice. Brian Boyle kicked cancer's ass, and even it considers itself lucky it avoided taking the pounding he's put on the Penguins this season. Hell, I think even Pavel Zacha found his potential in whatever was used to spike the Devils' Gatorade, as he absolutely bodied Evgeni Malkin in delivering one of the prettiest primary assists you'll see before tacking on a powerplay goal that was so elusive that I had to pinch myself myself after. Even without the services of Taylor Hall, the Devils just look like a different team against a roster whose experience should theoretically expose them.
Again, I don't know exactly what it is about the Pittsburgh, but if I'm going to eventually be forced into tagging along for the tank-a-thon then I'm going to need the occasional uplifting performance during which the Devils collectively play above their pay grade. Hopefully it doesn't absolutely require the Penguins to be on the other end of the ice, but at least they are scheduled to come to town in February if it does.