“I think the early part was all playoff experience, and the Devils got stronger as the game continued,” one Devils response read. “We have more experience, and it showed tonight,” a pleased Rangers fan said.
Ah, yes, the word experience. As a noun, it means “Practical contact with and observation of facts or events.” In contrast, as a verb, it means to “Encounter or undergo (an event or occurrence).”
Regardless of your route, that was how Rangers 5 Devils 1 unfolded Tuesday night at the Prudential Center in New Jersey. The Blueshirts playoff veterans outshined the Devils’ first-timers, and when the tide seemed to be shifting as it did in certain moments, New York’s goaltender Igor Shesterkin was there to steady it. “We played the right way,” Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant said. “We talked about managing the puck, not getting turnovers, and giving them odd-man rushes. I thought we skated hard, but the biggest thing for us was we forechecked well, did a good job in their zone, and didn’t spend as much time in our zone.”
It was a veteran masterpiece from the more seasoned team.
“They may have more experience, but we have a bunch of rebels ready to go,” New Jersey coach Lindy Ruff said before the game. Yet those rebels were no match for the Rangers, who took control early and never looked back en route to a convincing game-one victory. Here’s a breakdown of how they did that.