NHL Playoffs 2012: Devils vs. Rangers Game 1: Live Score, Analysis and Reaction
The Eastern Conference finals kick off tonight as the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers, two of the NHL's fiercest rivals, battle for their first chance to get back to the Stanley Cup Final in several years.
Keep it here, and feel free to join the discussion in the comments section.
Although these two teams clearly don't like each other, that did not play a large part in the series except for the confrontation between Zajac and Fedotenko. The play was physical without crossing the line.
Many have come to expect a defense-first game from the Devils, but the Rangers showed they are also capable of blocking shots and keeping their opponents off the board. After all, they are second in the league with 1.86 goals surrendered per game.
Brodeur can still play like the Cup-winning veteran he is, but Lundqvist showed why he is considered one of the NHL's elite even without a Cup of his own.
The Devils, who are fourth in the NHL with three goals scored per game in the playoffs, need production from stars such as Parise and Kovalchuk if they are to get back in the series.
That is it for me tonight. Thanks for tuning in, and feel free to write in the comments with your questions and observations. Or you can just mention me on Twitter at NHLPens_Ali.
Tonight's game marks the second time the Devils have been shutout these playoffs. They also did not score in Game 4 of their quarterfinal series with the Florida Panthers.
Lundqvist shut out the Ottawa Senators in the first round by a score of 1-0.
The Rangers went 1-for-4 on the power play, while the Devils were 0-for-3.
New York outshot New Jersey 28-21.
The final faceoff goes nowhere, and Lundqvist earns his fifth career playoff shutout as the Rangers defeat the Devils, 3-0.
The game is pretty much over, but a penalty is called on Mike Rupp with 37 seconds remaining. It is too late for the Devils to make a comeback, but they can still avoid being shut out.
This empty-net goal should put the final nail in the coffin for the Devils. Brian Boyle gets the goal with the setup from Ruslan Fedotenko.
The Devils have an empty net with 1:48 to go. A shot is fired just wide of Lundqvist.
The Devils are taking their 30-second timeout, and the Rangers are also drawing up a strategy. We have 2:07 remaining in the game.
The two-minute warning is approaching, and the Devils are trying to get last rushes on Lundqvist to avoid a shut out.
One of the great things about the playoffs is that several new hockey fans come out of the woodwork, fascinated by the excitement and intensity of the postseason.
While compiling some of this blog's recent entries, I've been able to educate one of my Twitter followers, Stephanie, on the ins and outs of the game. She's watching her first live hockey game, and one of her first questions to me was what a power play was. It may sound silly to you, but I am passionate about the game, and educating others is great.
Check her out on Twitter and give a follow if you feel so compelled.
Adam Larsson takes a long shot on goal, but it is blocked in front by the Rangers. Zach Parise picks up the puck as we reach the four-and-a-half minute mark.
The Rangers nearly get a shorthanded goal from Michael Del Zotto as the Devils power play slips away (hey, that rhymes!).
The Devils will now go on the power play with 6:53 remaining. Scoring here is crucial if they hope to avoid being shutout behind a strong performance by Henrik Lundqvist.
At the eight-minute mark, Chris Kreider gets the puck past Brodeur on a breakaway. Artem Anisimov will get the assist on the Blueshirts' first power-play goal of the night, and the Rangers are up 2-0.
Callahan's shot goes wide with a minute remaining on the power play. The Devils are able to get the puck out.
Steve Bernier is in the box as the Rangers get to work on the power play. They have five shots on their three chances prior to this one.
The Rangers will get their fourth power play at 10:24. Whether they score or if the Devils can step up and kill it could determine who wins this game.
Brodeur makes a diving save on Marc Staal. Although Brodeur is out of the net, Volchenkov also races over to stand in front of him and block the shot. We have about 10 minutes remaining in the final period.
The Rangers clear the puck down, but icing is waved off as Marek Zidlicky and Ruslan Fedotenko chase it. The Rangers get the puck back and cross the blue line as more battles continue.
The puck is played along the boards as the Rangers attempt a clear. It is tied up, and the referee blows the play dead with 11:32 to go.
The Rangers are outshooting the Devils 3-1 in this period. We take a commercial break with 12:36 to play.
The Devils are starting to take charge of play, and Girardi dives to block a Devils shot. The Rangers do not manage to clear the puck before Parise picks it up.
The Rangers get a shot off Brodeur's glove, and the puck is immediately put back into play.
Right now, neither team is really in control of the puck. The hitting has amped up, and the defensive play remains strong as we approach the 15-minute mark of the third.
Kovalchuk gets another shot off, but Lundqvist catches the puck with 17:29 remaining in the period.
The puck goes past Brodeur at 53 seconds. Dan Girardi will get credit for the goal, and the Rangers have a 1-0 lead. Rangers fans immediately start chanting "MARTY!"
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