New Jersey Devils: New York Rangers

Brodeur yanked after barrage of goals

January, 26, 2014
Jan 26
NEW YORK -- What could've been another remarkable chapter in the Hall of Fame career of Devils goalie Martin Brodeur instead became a day he'll want to forget.

Brodeur gave up six goals and was pulled after two periods in the Rangers' 7-3 win Sunday at Yankee Stadium. Brodeur gave up five straight goals after the Devils took a 3-1 lead, but he did not place the blame on himself, instead citing bad luck and excess odd-man rushes.

"Tough game to be a part of," Brodeur said. "You look forward to these kind of events and you have a result like that and it's not that fun."

Despite strong play this season from goalie Cory Schneider, Devils coach Pete DeBoer gave Brodeur the start Sunday to reward him for his contributions to the franchise. Brodeur said Saturday that he hoped to make good memories, but there won't be many for him from this game.

The Rangers sliced their deficit to 3-2 late in the first period when Marc Staal tallied a goal. Brodeur said the puck was going wide but defenseman Marek Zidlicky attempted to kick it, which careened the puck through Brodeur's legs and seemingly galvanized the Rangers.

In the second period, behind what Brodeur estimated to be between seven and nine odd-man rushes, the Rangers had their way with Brodeur. Mats Zuccarello evened the score early on, and the Rangers put three more on the board before the period was finished, the last coming with 29 seconds remaining. The Rangers' go-ahead goal from Zuccarello came on a three-on-one rush, and the fifth goal appeared to deflect off a Devils player.

Brodeuer said the Devils gambled defensively a bit once the game was tied, which helped created offense for the Rangers. "It was not something that we usually do," Brodeur said. "They made us pay the price because we weren't disciplined."

Brodeur dropped to 13-11-4 on the season, finishing with 15 saves. During the second period, with the Rangers rolling, Rangers fans mocked Brodeur with "Mar-Ty!" chants. Brodeur also called the makeshift rink "the worst ice I ever played hockey on."

"Bad luck. Bottom line," Brodeur said. "They threw pucks at net. They kept it real simple and I think four or five of the six goals I got scored on was through our own players, skating in. Just one of those nights."

Before the third period began, Brodeur talked to DeBoer and told him if he wanted to put Schneider in for the experience of playing in a game of this magnitude, he had no issue with that. While the move may have been fueled by Brodeur's performance, DeBoer did make the switch. The Rangers scored once on Schneider, with Derek Stepan cashing in on a penalty shot.

Despite the outcome, Brodeur relished the chance to play in an outdoor game for the first --and perhaps final -- time of his career.

"It was tremendous," Brodeur said. "The whole atmosphere about this event -- the mixed fans in the building, the aura of playing at Yankee Stadium, the whole thing was unbelievable -- beside the hockey game."

CeeLo to perform at Stadium Series

January, 24, 2014
Jan 24
Artist CeeLo Green will headline the entertainment for the pair of Stadium Series games to be held at Yankee Stadium on Jan. 26 and Jan. 29, the NHL announced Friday.

[+] EnlargeCee Lo Green
Steve Mack/NHLI/Getty ImagesCeeLo Green
Other entertainment includes singer-actress Michelle Williams, the cast of Jersey Boys, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, the FDNY Emerald Society Pipes and Drums, actor Marin Mazzie, Beatles tribute band Strawberry Fields and the NYPD Pipes and Drums.

The NHL takes over Yankee Stadium starting Jan. 26 when the Devils will host the Rangers, and three days later when the Islanders face the Rangers.

Green, who stars on NBC's "The Voice" and is a five-time Grammy Award winner, will perform on Jan. 29 before the game and during the first intermission. Williams will sing the National Anthem that night and Strawberry Fields will perform during the second intermission. The game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, Jersey Boys will perform pregame, and the FDNY Emerald Society Pipes and Drums, and the NYPD Pipes and Drums will play as the Rangers and Devils are introduced. Mazzie will perform the National Anthem, and Southside Johnny and Asbury Jukes is the first intermission entertainment.

These are the first hockey games Yankee Stadium will host.

"Our goal with the NHL Stadium Series games is to give our fans an unforgettable experience," NHL Executive VP of Events Don Renzulli said in a release. "We’re very excited about the entertainment line-up for our twin bill at Yankee Stadium, which celebrates the City of New York and the entire Metropolitan area, and pays homage to the teams, the venue, and our fans.”

Stadium's hockey makeover continues ...

January, 18, 2014
Jan 18
Yankee StadiumMatt Ehalt/ESPNNewYork.comWith remnants of the Pinstripe Bowl remaining, Yankee Stadium was starting to look more like an NHL arena on Saturday.
NEW YORK -- Just eight days before the first Stadium Series matchup between the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils, Yankee Stadium is starting to resemble a hockey arena.

[+] EnlargeYankee Stadium
Matt Ehalt for ESPNGate 4 gets decked out for hockey.
As of Saturday afternoon, the boards for the rink were being installed and the ice pans had been put down, but the ice had not been made yet. NHL senior manager of facility operations Mike Craig said Wednesday the goal was to start making ice Saturday. The ice pans keep the ice near its ideal temperature of 22 degrees Fahrenheit.

The rink runs horizontally from foul line to foul line in the middle of the field.

The roadway that will allow individuals to walk around the field has been constructed, and three stages were built in the outfield that will be part of the entertainment and setup for the games.

The outfield actually still had the Notre Dame end zone markings visible from the Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 28. The midfield logo for the game could also be seen. Notre Dame beat Rutgers in that contest, 29-16.

An auxiliary rink near home plate was also in its initial stages as the ice pans were set down. The ice had yet to be placed in that rink, as well.

Workers were busy Saturday getting the Stadium ready for the two games, which also includes the Rangers against the New York Islanders on Jan. 29. Drilling sounds reverberated throughout the Stadium as forklifts were driven around the ballpark. There were piles of boards along the base lines, as well.

Yankee Stadium Matt Ehalt/ESPNNewYork.comThe view of the Stadium from field level shows workers preparing for the Rangers, Devils and Isles.

Yankee Stadium getting hockey makeover

January, 15, 2014
Jan 15
Stadium Series Brad Penner/USA TODAY SportsRangers Carl Hagelin and Mats Zuccarello joined ex-Islander Jean Potvin and ex-Devil Grant Marshall to take in the sights in the Bronx.
NEW YORK -- The transformation of Yankee Stadium into a hockey arena is underway.

The NHL has started the initial phases of converting Yankee Stadium for the two Stadium Series games to be held there later this month. The New York Rangers will face the New Jersey Devils on Jan. 26, and the New York Islanders on Jan. 29.

As of Wednesday afternoon, only the initial stages of construction had begun, with the roadways and staging for the rink being built. The NHL ice truck that will help create the rink also arrived Wednesday.

"Today is probably the day when I'm really thinking about how much fun it's going to be and how excited I am," Rangers forward Carl Hagelin said, sporting a Stadium Series jersey.

Starting Thursday, the crew will lay out the piping and ice pans, with the goal to start making ice Saturday, according to NHL senior manager of facility operations Mike Craig.

The truck that arrived Wednesday has a 300-ton capacity and serves as a mobile refrigeration unit and rink system. It pumps up to 3,000 gallons of glycol into aluminum trays on the field that help keep the ice near the ideal temperature of 22 degrees Fahrenheit, according to a release.

Water is then added, with the outdoor rinks needing up to two inches of thickness compared with the normal 1-1.25 inches. Each inch requires approximately 10,000 gallons of water. The surface will be whitened before the lines and logos are placed on the ice.

Yankees Stadium (hockey) Matt Ehalt/ESPNNewYork.comConstruction has begun in earnest -- though there's still a lot of work to be done before faceoff.
Building a rink inside Yankee Stadium doesn't present any new problems for the crew.

"I think for the most part, our rink build is pretty similar no matter what stadium or park we go to," Craig said. "Refrigeration truck setup, piping setup is a little bit different here. A little bit longer run."

While all the talk surrounding the weather later this month is fixated on how it will affect the Super Bowl, weather is also going to be the biggest challenge for the NHL. The weather will dictate how the NHL preps the ice and maintains it for the games.

"We do a lot of research on the challenges that are going to be put to us. We have meteorologists that work very closely with the National Hockey League," NHL senior director of facility operations Dan Craig (Mike Craig's father) said. "We're very much in tune and what mother nature is going to give to us. When we wake up in the morning it is what is and the crews are ready to welcome that challenge."

In the first outdoor game this season in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Jan. 1, it was a snowy and frigid day for the Detroit-Toronto game. Mike Craig said they were able to get through that game well despite the snow.

He does have an ideal weather forecast for the games at Yankee Stadium.

"[I] always like to see cooler temperatures and cloud[s]. No wind," Mike Craig said. "If we could order that up that would be great."

Mike Craig, a native of Canada, called it "a bit of a fairy tale" to be turning Yankee Stadium into a hockey arena, and can't wait for the games. His excitement was shared by Hagelin.

"It's a great venue with a lot of history," said Hagelin, who was joined at Yankee Stadium by teammate Mats Zuccarello, former Islander Jean Potvin and former Devil Grant Marshall. "It's going to be incredible."

Devils zap Rangers' power play

November, 12, 2013

NEW YORK -- Just when things were going well for the New York Rangers' power play ...

It was only two nights ago that players and media alike were praising the efficiency of a unit that has long been the team’s weakest link. Perhaps that was a jinx?

More likely it was a skilled and stingy penalty-killing effort from the New Jersey Devils, who stopped all five Ranger power-play opportunities -- including a critical chance midway through the third period -- to top the Blueshirts 3-2 at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night.

[+] EnlargeMats Zuccarello
Rebecca Taylor/NHLI via Getty ImagesThe Devils neutralized the Rangers' power play on Tuesday at MSG.
“It seemed like tonight they did a good job blocking our shots, or we blocked our own shots,” veteran center Brad Richards said. “You have to give them credit; they work hard on that penalty kill and we knew it was going to be a challenge.”

Tuesday night, the Rangers’ power play wasn’t maligned by the problems of seasons past, when the unit more often than not looked disjointed, disorganized and downright impotent. The unit generated chances, but the Devils and veteran netminder Martin Brodeur yielded nothing.

“They played well. They blocked a lot of shots,” said Mats Zuccarello, who picked up an assist on Marc Staal's second-period marker and screened Brodeur on Dan Girardi's game-tying deflection in the third. “We have to be better. No excuses, but we also have to give them credit. Their PK played well.”

The Devils are currently fourth in the league with an 86.9 percent success rate on the penalty kill; they have surrendered only eight goals in the 61 times they were short-handed in the first 18 games of the season.

That was something the Rangers knew heading into Tuesday’s match, something that they prepared for and game planned to face.

“They were pressing very aggressively but we knew that going in,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “They’re not the only team that does that. Teams that are aggressive as they are, you have to move it with quick, short little passes to get away from that pressure. Tonight, the execution wasn’t there.”

Even though the Rangers made a concerted effort to pressure Brodeur with 35 shots, the Devils still did a good job of clogging things up and shutting them down.

The 41-year-old Brodeur, coming off two straight shutout performances, was stellar in besting rival Henrik Lundqvist and snapping New York's three-game winning streak.

“It’s tough with Brodeur,” Richards said. “No matter what, he breaks down your forecheck. It’s inevitable that when you dump the puck he’s out there like a third defenseman. We fired 35 shots on net and a lot more away from it. They were not giving us the second and third chances.”

Rapid Reaction: Devils 3, Rangers 2

November, 12, 2013
NEW YORK -- Twice the New York Rangers came back to tie the game, but a two-goal effort from gritty winger Ryan Carter and a go-ahead goal from Dainius Zubrus late in the third gave the New Jersey Devils their second straight win against the Blueshirts this season. Coming off a pair of shutout performances, veteran goaltender Martin Brodeur was terrific in leading the way for the Devils and snapping the Rangers’ three-game winning streak with a 3-2 victory at Madison Square Garden. The Devils penalty-killing unit was also superb in stopping all five Rangers power-play opportunities, including one critical chance in the third period.

What it means: The Rangers dropped back to .500 while the Devils climbed back within a point of the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.

Two for 20: Snapping an 18-game goalless drought dating back to last season, rugged fourth-liner Ryan Carter notched not one, but two goals in the first 40 minutes of play to give the Devils a 2-1 lead heading into intermission. The Rangers had a quick answer for his first goal in the second period, scoring just 18 seconds later, but Carter’s hustle allowed him to beat out speedster Carl Hagelin to the puck late in the second to give the Devils a one-goal advantage with 46.1 seconds left in the frame. Defenseman Adam Larsson, who turned 21 years old Tuesday, made the pass that sprung Carter for his sharp-angle backhander.

Showing some spunk: Move over, Sean Avery. Mats Zuccarello is trying to become the Rangers' latest pest. The diminutive Norwegian forward seemed to rattle Brodeur’s cage with an extra stick shove in the crease that prompted the veteran netminder to take a swipe at Zuccarello. Zuccarello ended up in a headlock, then the penalty box for a roughing minor. It wasn’t just Zuccarello’s antagonism that won him points Tuesday; he picked up an assist on Marc Staal's first period marker and set a key screen on Dan Girardi’s game-tying goal with 6:42 left in regulation.

Scary moment: The Rangers already experienced a glimpse into the abyss when they were without goaltender Henrik Lundqvist for two games earlier this season, so it’s no surprise there were some tense moments at the Garden during the third period when the former Vezina Trophy winner appeared to be in pain. Though trainer Jim Ramsay was summoned onto the ice, Lundqvist remained in the game and appeared to be OK okay when smothering Jaromir Jagr's breakaway attempt minutes later.

Depleted D: The Devils played with only five defensemen for much of the night, after veteran blue-liner Anton Volchenkov was forced from the game during the first period with what the team called a “lower-body injury.” Things got worse for their back end as the night progressed. Fellow blue-liner Eric Gelinas left the game late in the third after getting hit in the face with a puck.