Wednesday, May 16, 2012
W2W4: Rangers vs. Devils
By Katie Strang
At a glance: After shutting out their Hudson River rivals 3-0 in Game 1 Monday at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers aim to do something they have yet to accomplish this post-season: take a 2-game series lead. Meanwhile, the Devils look to even the series after letting the opener slip away after outplaying the Rangers for significant stretches.
Shots fired: Via a Devils spokesperson, goaltender Martin Brodeur defended his post-game comments in the wake of Game 1’s 3-0 shutout loss. The 40-year-old veteran, who reportedly suggested the Devils try aiming for the heads of the Rangers to curb their willingness to block shots, said the remarks were made “off-the-cuff.” Brodeur, who no longer talks on game days, said through the spokesperson that his intent was not to target the Rangers in such a way.
Block party: Whereas the Devils frustrated the Rangers with their relentless forechecking pressure, the Rangers countered with their superior shot-blocking. The Black-and-Blueshirts blocked 26 shots, compared to 15 from the Devils, a lopsided stat that prompted a pointed response from Brodeur: “Well from my view I saw [goaltender Henrik Lundqvist] for about 10 minutes of the game because there were so many Rangers in front of him, but he played pretty well.”
Looking for offense: Following a 29-goal regular season in which Rangers captain Ryan Callahan proved he is more than just a gritty face, the 27-year-old has been limited to only three goals over 15 games this post-season. Callahan has been held off the scoresheet over the past three games and has not scored a goal since May 2. What does he need to do to get going offensively? Said coach John Tortorella: “I won't answer.”
Loading up: According to line rushes in the Devils’ morning skate, coach Pete DeBoer has stacked his top line with Zach Parise, Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk, presumably to yield more offense. Parise and Kovalchuk were split to begin Game 1, presenting Tortorella with an interesting dilemma: which line should he try to match with his shutdown defense pair of Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi?
Making changes: Devils depth defenseman Peter Harrold may be making his first appearance of the series. DeBoer said it was an “option” to sit rookie Adam Larsson and use Harrold in his stead. The 28-year-old blue-liner, a former teammate and roommate of fellow Boston College alum Brian Boyle, has not played since Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Philadelphia.