The New York Rangers took Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, 3-0, against the rival New Jersey Devils. After two scoreless periods, Dan Girardi opened the scoring in the third on a trailing pass from top prospect Chris Kreider.
Kreider also would get on the board during the third period on a Rangers power play, with Dan Girardi and Artem Anisimov assisting on the score. The Devils were very aggressive early on in the game, and their forecheck helped contain the Rangers during the first 40 minutes of play.
However, the Rangers opened the third period in similar fashion to their Game 7 victory over the Washington Capitals.
Center Anisimov sealed the deal with an empty-net goal in the waning minutes of the third period.
Players of the Game
Lundqvist was one of the Rangers' best players on the ice, and early on, he denied the Devils from getting on the board during multiple flurries, including some short-handed chances.
The Swede continues to silence his critics by elevating his game this postseason. His best save of the night was a point-blank one-timer by Ilya Kovalchuk.
McDonagh was a defensive beast for the Rangers. He got back into position to stop two breakaway attempts by Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk. He was also shooting the puck and generating offense, which will benefit New York as the series goes on.
Brodeur made 25 saves against the Rangers and made some highlight-reel stops, including a stonewall against Marc Staal late in the third. Brodeur made some solid saves, but was beat by some good shots by the Rangers offense.
Having just turned 40, Brodeur is clearly showing that age is nothing but a number.
What Went Right in Game 1?
• New Jersey's forecheck early on
• Henrik Lundqvist was solid
• Rangers defense stood strong
• Ryan McDonagh was all over the ice
• Chris Kreider rebounded in a huge way
• New Jersey had multiple chances on rebounds
Dan Girardi: Third Period (00:53)
Chris Kreider (PP): Third Period (12:00)
Artem Anisimov (EN): Third Period (18:33)
For full box score, click here.
The THN stats guy had these tweets to sum up the difference-makers in Game 1.
Henrique: 0-7 in defensive zone faceoffs...#rookieproblems— THE STATS GUY (@TH2NSTATSGUY) May 15, 2012
Rangers had more: goals, powerplay goals, shots, hits, faceoff wins, blocked shots, takeaways......yep, that'll get you a win— THE STATS GUY (@TH2NSTATSGUY) May 15, 2012
Lundqvist earns the nod for player of the game for earning his fifth playoff shutout and his second shutout during the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs. Lundqvist stopped all 21 shots he faced and once again made a huge impact for the Blueshirts.
Dan Girardi scored the game-winning goal off a nice feed by rookie Chris Kreider. This goal energized the Rangers and got them going.
What is Next?
Game 2 will take place on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at Madison Square Garden at 8:00 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Network.