I did not get a chance to watch this game until yesterday on tape. So I will just be brief in my comments about the game. Tom Lycan at Devils' Due
and Tim Mo at RaReMaDev
have more complete recaps of the game, which I suggest you read for they are good.
Anyway, the Devils pretty much out-played the Rangers for the first two periods and for much of the third period. The Devils' defense held the Rangers to 26 shots, the Devils' offense put 32 shots on Lundqvist, and the Devils generally out-hustled the Rangers for most of the game. Martin Brodeur made some jaw-dropping saves for his 88th career shutout and 8th shutout this season; he clearly earned the first star of that game. However, it was not all Brodeur as the Devils performed very well overall.
The Devils also succeeded in terms of discipline as the Rangers; and this is where one of my two slight caveats about the game deals with: the power play. The Devils did look good on the power play, but they did not convert. In general When the other team hands you 4 power plays, you got to score on one of them. The Devils came very close to scoring on Henrik Lundqvist - who played extremely well and had to - a number of times both with and without a man advantage. So I understand why only one got past Lundqvist, as I feel the Devils were unlucky to not have scored two or three more goals.
My other caveat has to deal with the physical aspect, checks. Early on, it was the only thing the Rangers did better than the Devils. Ryan Holleweg, Jed Ortmeyer, and Marek Malik brought their A-game in terms of physical activity and let the Devils know about it. The Rangers ultimately out hit the Devils; but it wasn't total domination in terms of dishing out the pain. Colin White, Mike Rupp, and - yes - Brian Rafalski were credited with 3 or more hits in the game. The Devils being outdone in physical play is nothing new, but I'm surprised the Rangers did not just keep doing this all game long. Coach Tom Renney made a lot of odd decisions, such as giving Jason Krog more minutes than Martin Straka and Michael Nylander. Regardless, it's a minor issue as the Devils controlled most of the other aspects of the game.
Again, those two issues are just minor in terms of this game. While the score doesn't show it, the Devils comfortably won a game against the Rangers. This extends their lead in the Atlantic Division to 10 points and improves the Devils' record in their last 10 games to 8-1-1. Before I wrap this up, I want to commend Jay Pandolfo for doing an awesome job limiting Jaromir Jagr. For stretches of the game, I had no idea he was even on the ice. 20:16 and only one shot for Jagr is the result of the excellent defensive work by Jay Pandolfo.
Labels: Devils Postgame