NHL Playoffs 2012: Parise and Brodeur Give Devils Momentum Going into Game 5

Michael Prunka@MichaelPrunkaCorrespondent IMay 23, 2012

NEWARK, NJ - MAY 21:  Jacob Josefson #16 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the New York Rangers in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Prudential Center on May 21, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The New Jersey Devils have an incredible amount of momentum heading into Wednesday’s Game 5 in Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers. Game 4 on Monday saw the Devils bounce back from a 3-0 shutout loss for the second time in this series.

Veteran goaltender Martin Brodeur played a huge role in the Devils’ crucial 4-1win. He stopped 28 of 29 for a .966 save percentage. It was the fifth time in 16 playoff games that Brodeur allowed one or fewer goals. On top of that, he also earned a secondary assist on Zach Parise’s empty-net goal.

While Brodeur made important saves necessary for the Devils’ big win, the skaters in front of him also pulled their weight by blocking a total of 13 shots, making sure the Rangers’ scorers didn’t work their magic. In addition, the Devils’ forecheck continued to be vital in shutting down the Rangers’ offense. It’s no wonder that it took the Rangers almost 55 minutes to score.

The Devils played a relatively simplistic, yet very effective, game. They took plenty of shots and drove to the net. The men in front of the net got plenty of rebound shots on Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist. They also out-hustled the Rangers throughout a lot of Monday’s contest. It’s almost surprising that they only found twine four times.

It was Parise’s game-changing play that sparked the Devils throughout. He assisted on Travis Zajac’s goal that made it 2-0 and later scored the Devils’ third and fourth goals. Parise’s first goal was New Jersey’s only power-play conversion in six opportunities, and his empty-net goal at 18:31 in the third period put the final nail in the Rangers' coffin.

As the Rangers and Devils continue to trade wins, the Devils are continuously proving how well they can come back from tough losses. Based on how aggressively they played on Monday, I would say the Devils stand a good chance of taking Game 5 on Wednesday. Becoming the first team in this series to win back-to-back games and taking a 3-2 advantage into New Jersey would be huge for them. 


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