Long Live the King
For the first time this post season, the Devils faced an opponent that plays Championship caliber defense. For the second game in a row, the New York Rangers allowed their opponents just 4 shots in the third period. When you couple that defense with the fact that all the shots that get through also have to beat Henrik Lundqvist, it’s very easy to see why the Rangers tallied their second shutout of the post season tonight.
It’s hard to argue that Martin Brodeur is not the best goaltender in the history of the game. For my money, it’s a two-man discussion between him and Patrick Roy, though I will lean towards Brodeur as he his longevity has allowed him to collect the most wins, play in the most games, and have a better goals against average than the legendary Roy. Brodeur has also collected three Stanley cups and has led the Devils to the post season in 19 of his 21 seasons in the NHL. However, tonight, it was King Henrik who outplayed the legend from New Jersey.
The Rangers out hit, out shot, won more faceoffs and ultimately put three pucks in the nets to record the 3-0 win. The game was scoreless going into the third, and during the course of the first two periods, it looked like New Jersey had many more quality chances to score than the Rangers. However, Dan Girardi drove a shot from the point one minute into the third which gave New York the lead. With eight minutes left, Artem Anisimov made a great play at center ice to feed the Rookie Chris Kreider, who snapped a great low wrist shot past Brodeur to give the Rangers a 2 goal. Anisimov also tallied an empty net goal, and the Rangers who are used to winning one goal games, finally has a closing minute where they could relax a little bit.
As a Ranger fan, I was nervous going into this game. I wasn’t sure how much energy the Rangers would have, as they battled through 7 games to get here, while the Devils had close to a week to rest. However, I have learned not to underestimate the current Rangers team. I think this will still be a close series, and I’m going to stand by my pick of Rangers in 6. Once again, the King prevails in the Garden tonight and I can’t wait for the puck to drop again on Wednesday!