Devils vs. Rangers: 5 Predictions for Game 5
The puck drops at 8 PM EST for Game 5 of the New Jersey Devils vs. New York Rangers Eastern Conference Finals series. The two teams come into tonight's game with the series tied at two games apiece.
The Rangers will look to rebound from a Game 4 loss in which they were swiftly outplayed, while New Jersey looks to utilize their current momentum and take control of the series.
Here are five predictions for tonight's Game 5.
The Rangers Will Continue Chippy Play
About halfway through the third period of Game 4, Rangers' forward Mike Rupp decided he wanted to change the tide of the game and, in a larger sense, the series.
Rupp went behind the Devils' net and laid a somewhat questionable hit on New Jersey's Peter Harrold. After being whistled for a penalty, Rupp released some of his frustration by shoving Martin Brodeur in the chest.
A net-mouth brawl ensued, along with a shouting match between the two team's coaches, and by the end of it Rupp had been ejected from the game.
Expect this type of play to continue tonight.
The tension of this rivalry has finally erupted and it will only elevate as the series continues.
The Devils Will Not Respond to Chippy Play
The Devils have experience with heated rivalries so far in this year's playoffs.
After beginning to frustrate the Philadelphia Flyers, Philadelphia resorted to somewhat dirty play in an attempt to throw the Devils off their game. The strategy failed and New Jersey eliminated the Flyers in five games.
If the Rangers wish to have a different fate then Philadelphia, they must not attempt to use overly physical play against New Jersey.
The Devils are simply not fazed by it. Cheap play will only allow for more offensive opportunities for New Jersey.
Brandon Dubinsky Will Make an Impact
Reports say that Rangers' center Brandon Dubinsky will rejoin the lineup for the first time in over three weeks.
Dubinsky is a high-energy player and he is coming back at a time when New York is in dire need of some extra energy.
Dubinsky has also proven to be a solid postseason contributor. He has 16 points in 29 career playoff contests.
I see Dubinsky notching a goal in his return tonight. Also, look for him to throw around his body a considerable amount.
Parise Continues Strong Play
New Jersey captain Zach Parise had two goals and an assist in the Devils' Game 4 triumph.
Parise is a player that thrives off of momentum, and he has a tendency to produce in spurts.
With New Jersey's offense clicking, look for Parise to have another multiple-point game tonight.
Devils Win Game 5
You must win 16 games in order to take home Lord Stanley's Cup.
Consistency is key and consistent is one thing the Rangers have not been this postseason.
Their inconsistent nature has not hindered their ability to advance thus far in these playoffs, but New Jersey is the best team New York has faced this postseason.
And frankly, the Devils smell blood in the water.
The Rangers have shown a small ounce of frustration and New Jersey will take advantage.
Their reliance on stellar goaltender Henrik Lundqvist will not win them this series, so unless the Rangers begin outplaying the Devils team-wide, New Jersey will take this game.
I have the Devils winning 3-2 and taking a 3-2 lead in the series.