The New York Rangers entered the game with a three game winning streak and winning seven of their last nine games. They’ve scored four in their last three as well. A pretty telling sign of what is to come with a 100% healthy team who are starting to gel together. The Devils however are coming off a 5-0 shutout win against the Nashville Predators and their defensive game didn’t stop there.
In the first period it was a slow, sloppy and defensive game. The Rangers seemed to had trouble handling the puck as they had a few miscues when receiving the pass. The Rangers were also the victim at board play due to losing a lot of battles for the puck along the boards, but let’s not say this is because the Rangers aren’t working hard. The Devils were working just as hard and got the puck possession when it mattered. You can say though the Rangers started to pick up the pace when they got a couple powerplay opportunities, but unfortunately could not convert on any of the three they had in the first. Although, the team got a little spark after a few key chances in the slot with shots by Stepan and McDonagh, both denied by Martin Brodeur The period ended scoreless with New York at the man advantage.
The second period seemed to pick up almost half way through with a lot of good chances from both sides of the ice. The Devils broke the tie though with a turnover by Michael Del Zotto who tried flipping the puck out of the zone only to be caught by Andy Greene which started a semi-odd man rush that caught the Rangers away from the play. Greene than passed the puck to Ryan Carter who did a nifty move around John Moore and preceded to just stuff the puck in through Ranger sticks and Henrik Lundqvist and trickles into the net for the lead. The Rangers answered 18 seconds later when Mats Zuccarello drove into the offensive zone from a pass by Chris Kreider. Zuccarello protecting the puck as he skates behind the net and sets up Marc Staal with a perfect pass that he blasts by Martin Brodeur for the game tying goal. The period started to get feisty when Mats Zuccarello jammed his stick into Martin Brodeur’s pads on a puck thrown to the net, but Marty did not take that kindly as he shoved his glove into Zuccarello’s face and Marek Zidlicky put Zucarrello into a full nelson headlock. Both players received minor roughing penalties, but no goals were scored again. The Devils took the lead with a goal scored by Ryan Carter once again. Adam Larsson started the play by bouncing the puck off the glass and down to the defensive zone where Girardi and Hagelin were. It seemed Hagelin was gassed because Carter easily beat him to the puck and threw a back-hander on a tough angle that caught Lundqvist off guard and went right into the net with 47 seconds remaining in the second period.
To start the third, Benoit Pouliot took an early tripping penalty which was killed by the Rangers and kept the score the same at 2-1. Minutes later the Devils took a delay of game penalty by covering the puck with the glove. Jacob Josefson would be the guilty party member. However, the Rangers again, could not convert on the powerplay. They went 0-for-5 on the man advantage, but also killed all three penalties assessed. Dan Girardi got his first goal of the game almost half way through the third by a pass set up from Kreider who retrieved the puck behind the net shot by McDonagh. Girardi threw a snap shot towards the goal and finds its way in the back of the net hitting Adam Larsson on the way in. With roughly three minutes to go, Travis Zajac skated in with Girardi and McDonagh both defending and Zajac splits the two with a nifty pass to Danius Zubrus who was trailing. Zubrus tosses a back hand shot on net which was denied by Lundqvist, however, Zubrus gets his own rebound and puts the puck in the back of the net to give the Devils the lead with under three minutes to go in the third. The game would end 3-2 with the Rangers unable to score with six men on the ice during the final minute of play.
Overall, the Rangers weren’t great or awful, but it seems the sloppiness outweighed the scoring chances. There were a lot of turnovers, 11 caused by the Devils and it just seemed the Rangers could not handle some easy passes which cost them some attacking zone opportunity. In the end, the Rangers are 7-3 in their last ten games which is very respectable. You can expect them to battle hard when they play Montreal in Quebec this Saturday night. They have not won in Montreal since March 17, 2009. I am almost positive Markus Naslund was in the NHL playing for Broadway at that time.