Could Have Seen This From A Mile Away

May 21, 2012; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Zach Parise (9) celebrates his goal on New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) during the third period in game four of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals at the Prudential Center. The Devils defeated the Rangers 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE

After that game three win I sensed a letdown coming for game four. No, I wasn’t pointing to the fact the Rangers have lost every game four in the series, but the Rangers weren’t doing the little things to win hockey games in the first three games. It was inevitable they would lose a game like this.

While you don’t like to see your team lose a game, I think the Rangers now recognize that they need play with some urgency in order to win this series. They haven’t done any of the things that have made them successful during the first couple rounds and brought them into these playoffs.

They still haven’t figured out how to contain the Devils forecheck, let alone get their own forecheck going. So far this series, the Devils are really beating the Rangers in every facet except goaltending. Did I mention it’s been Henrik Lundqvist vs the world?

Maybe a loss like this will wake the team up. This Rangers team has a tendency to be extremely passive and maybe a kick to the chops like this will get this team to play with a little bit more desperation. Right now Lundqvist is the only reason this team isn’t down in the series, let alone swept out of the series, or out of the playoffs for that matter. It’s really been a one man show.

On to some points:

Michael Del Zotto: Worst game of the playoffs and arguably of the season for him. His Grandma died saturday while watching the game and maybe this had an effect on him. I’m not going to tell him to not think about or how to deal with it, I just hope if he’s in the lineup he’ll be ready to play and his focus will be 100%.

Chris Kreider: Never thought I’d say this a month ago, but right now he’s the Rangers most consistent forward. This is good and bad. The good being he’ll be a very good player, the bad being there are other Rangers that need to be playing better. Scary to think how good he’ll be next year with a full training camp.

Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards: These two guys are paid to put the puck in the net plain and simple. They haven’t seen a ton of open ice lately but good players always manage to find space. They need to pick up their game for the Rangers to have a chance this series.

Mike Rupp: What he did was wrong, but I’ve seen much worse in the NHL playoffs. I don’t know what Rupp was thinking and I really don’t care because the game was a lost cause at that point. Brodeur claimed he “punched” him but that debate is for another time. Even if Brodeur did flop a bit I’d hate for the Rangers to be known as a team who gets dirty when they’re losing. Leave that stuff to Philadelphia or Pittsburgh.

Let’s hope this team wakes up and takes game 5 back at MSG.

Be sure to follow me on twitter @Matt_J1.

Topics: Brad Richards, Chris Kreider, Henrik Lundqvist, Marian Gaborik, Martin Brodeur, Michael Del Zotto, Mike Rupp

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