It's Friday the 13th, hockey's most damnable holiday. According to legends I heard second-hand, on a previous occurrence of this high unholy day, Jason Bacashihua escaped from a Plymouth Whalers practice and, still wearing his mask, wandered into the woods and proceeded to terrorize everybody at a nearby campground.
They made a movie about it.
And now, on this very same accursed day comes Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, and if it wasn't already eerie enough, the night will mark Henrik Lundqvist's 666th game, the moon will rise, full, outside of the Staples Center, and puck drop is at the 13th hour of the 13th day of the 13th month.
(I, like many hockey writers, think the Stanley Cup Final should begin and end well before the month of Smarch.)
Spooky things are already happening. After Friday morning's practice, Darryl Sutter spoke in unfamiliar tongues in response to a question about the importance of a good start:
"How important is a good start? Well, that's why they put time on the clock always, that's when it starts. Then you get 30, 40 seconds of it, then somebody else gets to go. It's not just the start. I mean, what does 'start' mean? Does that mean shift, period, till the first time out, O zone, neutral zone, D zone, faceoff? What does it mean?"
Yes. What does it mean? What does any of it mean?
We should have known that this series would reach Game 5. It's really only fitting that a Final that's got us all talking about luck, the hockey gods, and the unexplainable forces that govern the game would continue on into a day known precisely for its unknowable hocus pocus.
Hell, those gods, typically invisible, practically crossed over into our dimension in Game 4, stopping two pucks on the goal line to keep the Kings from the Cup in what was, arguably, their best game of the season.
Granted, some chalked it up to the Iluminati:
But I think we all know it was a deeper, more ancient magic, and it goes without saying that that magic will be all over Game 5. Something unexpected and rare is bound to happen. So what will it be?
My money's on a Rick Nash goal. Will he draw power from tonight's full moon? I'm saying yes, for two reasons. First, if ever there was a secret werewolf amongst us, it's this guy:
You're not fooling anybody, guy-whose-name-sounds-like-something-a-werewolf's-teeth-might-do.
It should also be noted that Nash's only two-game scoring streak of the postseason began the night following the last full moon, on May 14. Coincidence?!
The Rangers have survived this long without Rick Nash scoring, but only just barely. Alain Vigneault keeps insisting that his defensive contributions are being overlooked, but let's not be silly: If New York want to send this series back to Madison Square Garden, Nash's contributions need to outshine Derek Dorsett's. Right now, they aren't.
Returning to the mysterious, it's worth noting that the Rangers are sitting on an eerie 13 playoff wins. And that's where they'll stay, on unlucky 13, without another huge effort from their skaters and their goaltender -- not to mention a little help from the hockey gods -- in Game 5.