Originally written on Red Light District Hockey  |  Last updated 5/24/12

Through five playoff games between the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers we have a series that is as tight as it can get. In fact, there has been no goal differential whatsoever with each club scoring 12 times. The Rangers, in their two victories squeaked out 3-0 scores, while the Devils have been a bit more dominating in their wins despite the numbers not quite painting that picture. The difference between the two teams, however, remains a relentless forecheck from the Devils.


Last night, the Devils squandered a 3-0 lead by the beginning of the third period. The Rangers finally found a way to break through their prevent defense, deploying a forecheck reminiscent of their opponent. However, it was the Devils who broke through on the strength of their game plan.

Let's get the video out and take a minute to review Ryan Carter's game winning goal.



Every good forecheck starts with a well-placed dump in. After Stephen Gionta threw the puck into the corner, superstar Ilya Kovalchuk raced after it, immediately putting pressure on Ranger defender Michael Del Zotto. As Del Zotto battled for the puck, it squirted to his left and onto the stick of Gionta. And in a split-second, Gionta threw it in front of the net to the open Carter for a tap-in goal.

"Kovalchuk did a great job getting it on the forecheck there and being a good F-1, like we talked about, and taking the body," Gionta said after the game. "The puck was just sitting there and closed my eyes and threw it out to Cart."

The Devils' ability to constantly pressure the Rangers' defense has given them a big advantage in the series. Not only do their stars like Kovalchuk and captain Zach Parise pester their opponent below the hash-marks, guys like Gionta, Carter, and Steve Bernier emulate their determination which, in effect, keeps the pressure constantly on the opposing defense.

Devils' coach Pete DeBoer's message was simple: stay on the forecheck. "[We're] just going out there, keeping it simple, getting the pucks in deep and getting on the forecheck and try to wear the other team down," Gionta further explained. And that exact strategy is what allowed this Devils' club to defeat the heavily favored Philadelphia Flyers. It's that same game plan that puts New Jersey within one win of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Regardless, at this point, the Devils know they aren't impenetrable. They still have two games to win, and know last night's win wasn't perfect.

"I thought we were tentative," said DeBoer in retrospect. "Started to play a little in between, got away from our forecheck and really for the middle portion of the game, you know, they had us on our heels." The Devils only registered 17 shots on the evening with five coming in the second period-- a frame that saw them defend at an exorbitant rate.

But eventually the club found their game, and had enough to win it. "I thought we found a way to weather the storm and we hung with it, and we felt that if we could get back on the forecheck we could create some more offense," DeBoer continued. "And the goal was a forecheck goal. Kovalchuk goes in, eliminates the defensemen. Gionta scoops up the puck and makes a play."

The Devils found a way to keep the game tight and, at the right time, perfectly installed their game plan. Had the Rangers remained pesky on the forecheck, the game could have gone into over time or to a completely different result. Luckily for the Devils, the Rangers sat on their heels and watched the Devils climb back into the game. And letting the team continue to forecheck relentlessly proved to be a lethal mistake for the Rangers.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Cubs' pitcher Jake Arrieta no-hits the Dodgers

Chicago Bears release two-time Pro Bowl CB Tim Jennings

Indians president Mark Shapiro jumps to same role in Toronto

Tom Coughlin: Victor Cruz not expected to practice this week

Report: Redskins ownership won't let coaches bail on RG3

D'Angelo Russell: 'There's a lot of spoiled Lakers fans'

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Terry Collins didn't challenge double out of fear of HR

Has Tim Lincecum thrown his last pitch for the Giants?

Jerry Jones is enthralled with ‘vintage’ Darren McFadden

Report: Three NFL head coaches were interested in Michigan job

Odell Beckham Jr. is not intimidated of Darrelle Revis

Chargers say Seahawks DE took cheap shot at Philip Rivers

U.S. Open women's preview: Can anyone stop Serena?

Buffalo Bills need to start Tyrod Taylor at quarterback

WATCH: Broncos defender drops Reggie Bush, skirmish ensues

U.S. Open men's preview: Will there be a surprise champion?

Big Papi crushes Syndergaard pitch for 494th homer

Virginia Tech honoring slain journalists with helmet stickers

AJ Green on contract: 'All the receivers are getting bank'

Clippers owner rejects $60 million annual TV rights deal

Saints thank residents of New Orleans on 10th Katrina anniversary

Fan delivers In-N-Out Burger to Tyler Seguin during game

A tribute to 76ers legend Darryl Dawkins

Five teams with the best NBA schedule in 2015-2016

South Carolina to honor Charleston shooting victims with sticker

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Cubs' Jake Arrieta no-hits the Dodgers

Chicago Bears release Tim Jennings

U.S. Open men's preview

U.S. Open women's preview

D'Angelo Russell zings Lakers fans

Every NBA division's most interesting rookie for 2015-16

Fantasy football round-by-round draft strategy

Ronda Rousey's Carl’s Jr. ad

The WWE Divas Revolution is getting ugly

The NFL’s season kickoff isn’t going as planned, but plans don’t matter in the NFL

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker