I guess this is the part where I am supposed to complain that the best goaltender in the world playing in hockey's hotbed is shockingly exempt from being held accountable for his actions by the NHL rulebook that he essentially defecated on. Seems like as good of a time as any to say that Carey Price should have been throwing haymakers at his dumbass defenseman that got beat to the front of the net and then shoved a prone member of the opposition into his vulnerable netminder.
That's why it truly sucks that I can't. I really wish I could. I would like nothing more than to act like the Devils were two periods against a backup goalie away from making last night's "contest" competitive. After all, who doesn't love a good, old fashioned referee shaming? Unfortunately, that lazy finger pointing will have to wait until the Devils play a much closer game, because not even Al Montoya at his worst (Note: Al Montoya gave up TEN goals to the Columbus Blue Jackets earlier this year) could have given them a chance to beat the Montreal Canadiens. With the way they responded to a completely unnecessary Kyle Palmieri pummelling they don't deserve to be given the benefit of the blame game. So save your "ref, you suck!" chant for a time when the comically negligent enforcement of the rules could potentially have an effect on the outcome, because when you get outshot 49-21 against a shorthanded team you get as much sympathy as you get points - none.
I guess it's about time I address this issue because I have been trying to ignore it in hopes that it would go away like a bad toothache, but the Devils most important player has been struggling. I have been transformed into a Cory Schneider apologist by watching him singlehandedly keep this franchise out of the gutter, but the guy is in the midst of a tough stretch that is far longer than anyone could have ever imagined given his superhuman performance the last two years.
That doesn't mean he's not the same goalie that has repeatedly saved his organization from becoming a complete laughingstock. It doesn't mean he needs to replaced as the starter. It doesn't even mean that he has cost this team more than one or two points in the standings. He's the easiest of targets as the last line of defense, but blindly calling Cory Schneider the Devils biggest problem requires a level of stupidity that is unforeseen since Rangers fans were blaming John Tortorella's goalless system on their All-World goaltender. There's no doubt he needs to be much, much better if the Devils hope to make the playoffs, and watching two pucks that had no absolutely no business going in squeak by him last night made me want to grow my hair just so I could rip it out. That said, he faced FORTY SEVEN other shots last night. Safe to say there were more than a few golden opportunities that he did keep out of the net. When the Devils start clearing the crease and and playing a level of team defense that doesn't have the opposing team playing entire rounds of 'Whack-A-Mole' at loose rebounds then I will turn my attention to the only guy on the team who has earned the benefit of the doubt. I'll lay claim to my pro-Schneider bias being unwarranted if he's still playing subpar when the Devils lay claim to their responsibilities in their own end, because - unless they start to - they are doomed regardless.