Rapid Reaction: Devils 4, Rangers 1

May, 21, 2012
5/21/12
10:45
PM ET


At a glance: In a rowdy Game 4 that delivered all the nastiness lacking in the first three games, the Devils proved that Henrik is human after all. Shut out twice in the first three games against the Rangers, the Devils solved the mind-bogglingly steady Henrik Lundqvist with a 4-1 win that tied the series at two games apiece. Devils captain Zach Parise led the charge, finishing with two goals and an assist in a stellar performance that had the Prudential Center buzzing, while goaltender Martin Brodeur made 30 saves and added an assist on Parise's late-game empty-netter.

Rough stuff: The arena reached a fever pitch midway into the third after ex-Devil Mike Rupp shoved Brodeur after the play, igniting a melee that eventually ensnared both coaches. John Tortorella and Pete DeBoer screamed at each other from the bench while their players tangled on the ice -- the second time this season the two have gone at it during a game. Both coaches traded barbs during the teams' last regular-season meeting March 19.

Playoff performer: Recording his third goal of the playoffs -- after being held without one during all 82 games of the regular season -- Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador beat Lundqvist five-hole with a shot through traffic fired from the left point at 8:10. The 36-year-old veteran has three goals and six assists in 16 games this postseason.

Another benching: Two games after stapling Marian Gaborik to the bench, Tortorella exercised the tough-love strategy on young defenseman Michael Del Zotto. After a first-period miscue led to the Devils’ second goal of the night, Del Zotto coughed the puck up 2:57 into the second and didn’t see the ice the rest of the period.

Two-on-one: A gaffe along the boards by Del Zotto led to a two-on-one rush that allowed New Jersey to pad its one-goal lead. Parise made a perfect setup to linemate Travis Zajac, who one-timed the puck for a 2-0 advantage at 11:59.

First fisticuffs: Tensions finally erupted for the series’ first fight -- albeit a brief one -- 9:26 into the first, as Adam Henrique and Ryan McDonagh tangled. Henrique seemed to take exception to McDonagh’s cross-check after the whistle and both were sent to the box for fighting. The rough stuff continued in the second period when Rangers captain Callahan and Devils sniper Ilya Kovalchuk went after each other on more than one occasion. Both were sent to the box -- Callahan for roughing, Kovalchuk for slashing -- after one nasty sequence during which Callahan swiped at Kovalchuk’s helmet only to receive a spear to the stomach in retaliation.

Bickel in for Prust: With Brandon Prust serving a one-game suspension for his elbow on Anton Volchenkov in Game 3, defenseman Stu Bickel was used to replace him as a forward, although that plan didn’t last for long. With Del Zotto benched in the second period, Bickel was put back on defense.

What's next: Game 5, Wednesday at Madison Square Garden, 8 p.m.
Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPN.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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