Rapid Reaction: Devils 3, Rangers 2 (OT)
May, 25, 2012
By Katie Strang | ESPNNewYork.com
Recap | Box score | Photos
What it means: Eighteen years ago to the day, the Devils blew a 2-0 lead to let Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals and a 3-2 series lead slip away. But this is not 1994.
Despite a second-period rally that kept the Rangers' hope alive, the Devils knocked off their Hudson River rivals with a 3-2 overtime win to earn their first trip to the Stanley Cup finals since 2003. With the score tied at 2, rookie Adam Henrique scored the winner to send New York packing while New Jersey advances to face the Los Angeles Kings.
All tied up: A Rangers captain pulls his team even after falling behind to the Devils 2-0 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals ... sound familiar? Ryan Callahan tipped Dan Girardi's point shot for his third goal in four games, knotting the score with 6:19 remaining in the second period.
Slow starts: Trailing by two goals at the first intermission, the Rangers were haunted by yet another poor start. In the last three games of the series, the Rangers were outscored 7-1 in the first period.
Usual suspects: With yet another goal from their fourth line, the Devils took a lead midway into the first period with Ryan Carter's second goal in as many games. Carter, who scored the game winner in Game 5, buried a rebound for a 1-0 lead at 10:05. Steve Bernier also made a terrific pass to set up the Devils' rush and earned a secondary assist on the play.
Pretty power play: Devils sniper Ilya Kovalchuk completed a seamless tic-tac-toe passing sequence touched by all five Devils for a power-play goal at 13:56 of the first period. Dainius Zubrus made a terrific pass through the crease to find Kovalchuk, who scored back-door for a 2-0 lead that sent the Prudential Center crowd into a frenzy.
Fed-Ex: Clutch playoff performer Ruslan Fedotenko cut the Devils' lead in half with a goal at 9:47 of the second. The 33-year-old veteran, who has won Stanley Cups previously with Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh, put back Ryan McDonagh's wraparound attempt to spark the Rangers' second-period comeback.
Slash attack: Devils first-line center Travis Zajac was forced from the game briefly during the second period after taking a hard slash to the left hand by Rangers tough guy Brandon Prust. Prust, who was suspended for one game earlier in the series after a reckless elbow to Anton Volchenkov in Game 3, did not earn a penalty on the play.
Ouch: Both Henrique and Carter left the game during the third period after being hit by shots. Henrique returned later in the period, while Carter did not come back until overtime.