LeBron Who? The REAL King is in NY
I wrote an article a couple of days ago, after Game 1 of the Rangers & Devils series that was entitled Long Live The King. The easiest thing for me to do right now would be to copy and paste that article, because after watching today’s 3-0 Ranger victory, I felt as if I was watching a replay of the first game. Both games featured unbelievable goaltending by both teams in the first two period. Both games also were scoreless going into the third period. Dan Girardi scored the first goal in both of these games, and the Rangers also added an empty net goal in each contest to give themselves a 3 goal lead. Another parallel in Games 1 & 3 was the fact that the Rangers really got outplayed in the majority of the game. The main common theme that each game shared was the Henrik Lundqvist was just a little bit better than Marty Brodeur.
In each series so far, the Rangers won Game 1, lost Game 2 and won Game 3. Against Washington and Ottawa, the Rangers dropped Game 4 so the next game is a big step for the Rangers to break this pattern. One of the reasons I believe that the Rangers have a great shot of taking the next one is that when they play in New Jersey, they bring a lot of their blue shirt fans with them. At the end of the game this afternoon, there was an arena filling chant for Henrik, and as Ryan Callahan scored the game-sealing empty net goal, a number of fans shot up with their hands in the sky celebrating the Captain’s achievement. Ranger fans did not travel to Ottawa or Washington in this capacity, and I truly believe this will lift the Rangers in the next contest. The Devils organization even gave their fans advice to keep the Ranger fans out of the building, proving that they are majorly concerned with how little home ice advantage they will be receiving
As I previously stated, the Devils carried the flow of the majority of the game. They out shot the Rangers 36-22, went on 6 power plays to the Rangers 2 and held an advantage on faceoffs as well. However, we all know that the only stat that counts at the end of the day is goals, and Lundqvist was incredible. The Devils put plenty of guys in front of the net to give Hank trouble, though it appeared that he had X-Ray vision and picked up all shots regardless of being screened. In the second period, he stopped odd man rush after odd man rush, even using his pads to stop the Devils on two separate breakaways. Basically, he put on a clinic of how to play the goalie position and everybody in the Rangers organization should be grateful for the man in between the pipes.
As the game went on, the physicality picked up. The fact that this rivalry has yet to breed a fight in the series is very surprising. I think it usually takes 3 or 4 games for teams to really start hating each other and I think that the next game might turn into the blood bath that many of us expected. After Game 1, Martin Brodeur encouraged his teammates to hit the Rangers in the face with pucks when New York attempted to block their shots. I think the venom that such a comment can add to the series will finally boil over in the next game, and I personally would love to see these teams get a little rougher with each other. Personally, I think the Devils are ripe for the taking right now, and I fully expect the Rangers to take their heart in Monday night in Newark.