Devils vs. Rangers: Breaking Down Game 2's Key Players for Each Team

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistMay 15, 2012

With the New York Rangers beating the New Jersey Devils in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals 3-0, each team has to re-evaluate the situation.

For the Devils, they must find a way to solve the riddle of Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, while New York must find a way to keep the pressure on New Jersey.

Both teams must find the star that will stand up and take the bull by the horns. Whether or not someone stands up to the challenge will determine the outcome of this series.

 

Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, N.Y.

When: Wednesday, May 16 at 8:00 p.m. EDT

Watch: NBC Sports Network, CBC

Live Stream: NHL GameCenter Premium

 

Rangers Player to Watch: Brad Richards

As great as star Rangers center Brad Richards was in the faceoff circle, he needs to bring more to the table offensively. While he is playing great defense, the team signed him to be the spark plug of the offense.

If it wasn’t for the timely scoring of players like rookie Chris Kreider, the talk would be about how Richards was choking away New York’s Stanley Cup chances.

New York must make an effort to move the puck through Richards in the offensive zone. If given the time, there is no way he can continue struggling.

 

Devils Player to Watch: Ilya Kovalchuk

This is the exact moment that the Devils got Ilya Kovalchuk for. With a red hot goalie at the other end of the ice, the Devils need their top sniper to figure out Lundqvist’s riddle.

Kovalchuk had only three shots on goal all game and finished the night at minus-one. That's certainly nothing close to what the team expected from one of the most expensive players in the NHL.

If the Devils can’t find a way to get their sniper engaged in the game and playing hard, New Jersey will lose Game 2 and find themselves in a hole Lundqvist and the Rangers defense won’t allow them out of.

 

Check back for more on the National Hockey League as it comes, and check out Bleacher Report’s NHL page to get your fill of all things hockey.

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