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Saturday, May 19, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Rangers 3, Devils 0

By Katie Strang

Recap | Box score | Photos

What it means: In a match that drew eerie parallels to Game 1, the Rangers surged in the third period, breaking a scoreless tie and running away with a 3-0 win at the Prudential Center for a 2-1 series lead.

The Devils carried play for the first half of the game, but Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was not to be topped. The Vezina and Hart trophy finalist made 36 stops in his second shutout of the series -- another sensational performance that the Rangers would've been ashamed to waste. The Rangers received goals from Dan Girardi and rookie Chris Kreider, and captain Ryan Callahan ended a lengthy goal drought with his empty-netter to make it 3-0.

Déjà vu: In what seemed to mirror Game 1 to an uncanny degree, Girardi snapped a scoreless draw early in the third period before Kreider added an insurance goal less than two minutes later. Both players tallied goals in the Rangers' Game 1 victory on Monday at Madison Square Garden.

After a clutch faceoff win by teammate Brad Richards, Girardi ripped a wrist shot past Martin Brodeur for a power-play goal at 3:19 to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. Kreider added his fifth goal of the playoffs on a deflection of Ryan McDonagh's point shot at 5:16.

Goaltending duel: The second period featured a pair of spectacular saves by each team's netminder. Lundqvist made a diving stop with his left arm to deny Ilya Kovalchuk on a breakaway just 45 seconds into the frame. Not to be outdone, Brodeur sprawled to smother Callahan's attempt at the left post at 4:16.

No penalty on Prust: Rangers tough guy Brandon Prust got away with elbowing Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov at 2:38 of the second. Volchenkov was slow to get up after being felled by Prust's elbow to the back of the helmet -- a play that was missed by all four on-ice officials. However, Prust might still face supplementary discipline. Volchenkov returned to the ice after the hit.

Switching things up: Not long into the first period, Rangers coach John Tortorella shuffled his lines, using Kreider with Richards and Marian Gaborik, and placing Carl Hagelin with center Derek Stepan and Callahan on the second line.

The Rangers' power play also debuted a new look. Gaborik, Kreider and Artem Anisimov were used up front while defensemen Michael Del Zotto and Anton Stralman manned the points of the team's first unit.

Tortorella reunited his original lines to begin the second period.

Stu scratched: Defenseman Stu Bickel, often the first victim when Tortorella shortens the bench, was scratched Saturday. Replacing him in the lineup was Steve Eminger, who has appeared in only one other playoff contest for the Rangers -- Game 1 of their semifinals set against Washington on April 28.

Up Next: Rangers at Devils, 8 p.m. Monday