Devils Make a Statement at MSG with 3-2 victory
New York, NY - Madison Square Garden has been host to many interesting hockey games throughout the course of the National Hockey League. None more so on then the statement the New Jersey Devils (18-30-3) made in their 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers (29-21-4).
With this victory the Devils have established that yes they are for real, while taking another step in their possible pursuits of a playoff spot. With this victory the Devils have been able to find that padlock type defense that won three Stanley Cups.
Also with this victory, nightmare for the fans of the Blueshirts of a time when the Devils would come in and just outplay and out hustle a Rangers squad that many have grown to love. There were some signs of life that the Battling Blueshirts were displayed in the third period of play, but yet unnecessary turnovers and questionable goals by keeper Henrik Lundqvist would doom the squad.
The Devils would find the early 1-0 lead when Ilya Kovalchuk blasted an 18 foot wrister at the 1:04 mark, past Lundqvist for the 1-0 lead. New Jersey then began their patented defense that has won them so many championships, and it would seem as if the Blueshirts could not find the answer as the horn would sound to end that frame.
In the second New Jersey keeper Martin Brodeur would make the save of the game at the 5:28 mark on a wicked shot by Derek Stepan, which would be denied. The Devils would cash in for their second goal off of a Rangers turnover. It would then be at the 8:01 mark that the second goal was scored when Dainius Zubrus (9) shot 23 foot slap shot at the 8:01 mark that went off Lundqvist back and into the Rangers goal for the 2-0 lead.
New York would not back down as they would try to solve the riddle that is the Devils defense. The Blueshirts would get a great opportunity when Wojtek Wolski had a shot on some sweet passing by both the returning Vinny Prospal and the always exciting Mats Zuccarello. Sadly Wolski’s shot would be denied by Brodeur, as the Devils kill the extra man opportunity.
The physical play between these two bitter rivals would escalate, but end very quickly as Sean Avery would challenge David Clarkston in a very quick scrap. Sadly the fight would not last long as Avery would fall to the ice quite quickly. In spite of the attempt of firing up the squad the Devils would continue their improved play.
New Jersey who has been the hottest team in the second half of play had done a really stellar job throughout this game against the Rangers forcing the turnovers in the neutral-zone. Thanks to head coach Jacques Lemaire, who has been able to adjust his team’s play to the new NHL style of play.
Rangers head coach John Tortorella would continue to try to solve the Devils defense by mixing up his lines in the second period of play. Before the Rangers could find an answer, a turnover by Mats Zuccarello would give the Devils the 3-0 lead.
Zuchs would try to get the puck out of the Rangers zone, but sadly for the fans in attendance at the Garden that puck would find its way to Patrik Elias. Elias (26) would then zip the puck to Brian Rolston (7) who rifled home a 37 foot slap shot, at the 15:04 mark into the Rangers cage for the lead. Thanks to that goal and assist, the two line-mates would now have a seven game point streak.
Coach Tortorella would then try a different strategy in firing up his squad as he would lift keeper Henrik Lundqvist from the game, who could have stopped the pucks by both Rolston and Zubrus, instead the usually steady Swedish keeper would allow three goals on 12 shots. In came Martin Biron, along with a pep-talk during the break to bring back the Battling Blueshirts.
In his second game back from the injured reserve list Ryan Callahan (12) would cut into the Devils lead, by blasting a 21 foot slap shot past the shoulder of Martin Brodeur. That puck would rise to the short-side of the net puck going past the New Jersey keeper to cut the lead to 3-1. With that goal the crowd at MSG came back to life reenergizing the squad with echoed cheers of Lets Go Rangers. Sadly that momentum could not be cashed in as the horn would sound to end the second period of play.
New Jersey almost added onto their lead at the 0:13 mark of the third period of play, as the sniper Ilya Kovalchuk had a great opportunity, which would be saved by Martin Biron. But then two bad penalties by the Devils gave the Rangers a 1:15 two-man advantage.
The Battling Blueshirts cut into the Devils lead when at the 2:21 mark Vinny Prospal (1) made the game 3-2 on a bad angle 15 foot wrister, at the 2:21 mark. Prospal’s shot went off the stick Devils blue liner Henrik Tallinder, and into the cage for the second Rangers goal in the game. For Prospal who fell to his knees in delight of the goal, which was his first since April 7, 2010. As the two-man-advantage dwindled down to one, the Rangers could not cash in on any more offense.
New York would continue to get good offensive, along with extra man advantages from the Devils but could not find the game-tallying goal. As the clock would wind down, one could feel the tension from the Madison Square Garden crowd as each tension filled moment would pass. The fans would start to vent their frustration booing at the lack of offense.
New York would have one last heart rendering shot as Dan Girardi would try to rifle one past a very down and out Martin Brodeur. In spite of the video replay Girardi’s shot would just hit the post as somehow, someway this scorching hot Devils squad held on to the 3-2 victory.
On this night many will remember how this Devils squad was able to secure the victory…they will also remember how the Rangers continue to live up to their battling name. But no one knows until the playoffs shape up weather this is the game that will continue to push the Devils to that much wanted spot; or maybe-just maybe this was what the Rangers needed to wake their team up in the push for the Stanley Cup.
Note: Erik Christensen maybe healthy enough for the Rangers to play on Monday in Detroit against the Red Wings