Found May 14, 2012 on Fox Sports:
The New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils will renew the Hudson River rivalry Monday night, starting in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals. Although the Rangers were expected to be here, the Devils certainly weren't. So what happens in the reunion of these Atlantic Division rivals in these playoffs? Season series The division rivals split their six regular-season matchups, with each team winning twice on its home ice and once on the road. New York outscored New Jersey 14-11, with the Devils getting an extra "goal" for winning the shootout on Jan. 31. Key players A winner of the Conn Smythe trophy when he led the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Stanley Cup in 2004, Brad Richards is making a case to win another with the Rangers this season. His six goals and 11 points lead the team, though his 49.5 percent success rate in the faceoff circle is slightly worrisome. In fact, of all the regular faceoff men the blueshirts employ, only fourth-line man John Mitchell is winning more than half his draws. Many will spin positives out of the Rangers' scoring-by-committee approach -- after all, nine different Rangers have scored at least two playoff goals -- but that only distracts from the skepticism that should be surrounding the not-scoring committee. Regular-season surprise Carl Hagelin, two-time Stanley Cup winner Ruslan Fedotenko, defenseman Ryan McDonagh and fourth-liners Mike Rupp and Mitchell are all still looking for their first tally. The Devils' Ilya Kovalchuk leads all active playoff scorers with 12 points, yet is the only member of New Jersey with a negative plus/minus rating (minus-3) this postseason. It's no surprise he's joined at the top of the scoring lists by Travis Zajac (five goals, five assists, 10 points) and Zach Parise (4-4-8); what is surprising, or has been surprising, is the offensive contributions from wingers David Clarkson (2-6-8) and Dainius Zubrus (3-4-7). We do realize that playing against Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov lately has led to a lot of stat-padding, but New Jersey still has an impressive nine players with shooting percentages higher than 10 percent. Zajac's five goals have come on just 28 shots for a 17.9-percent rate. Goaltenders When you look at the two goalies left standing in the Eastern Conference, you begin to wonder why more people didn't have these two teams meeting in the third round of these playoffs. Vezina Trophy favorite and Hart Trophy candidate Henrik Lundqvist has been as advertised for the Rangers in the playoffs, pulling out wins in two tough Game 7s, though his 1.68 goals-against average and .937 save percentage almost bely his 8-6 record this postseason. King Henrik has been outstanding; his offensive support has been almost non-existent. On the other side of the ice will be future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur, who, along with forward Patrik Elias, constitute the only two remaining members of New Jersey's Cup-winning 2003 team still wearing the black and red. Brodeur recently turned 40 years old, but has shown little signs of slowing down. His 2.05 GAA and .920 save percentage may pale next to Lundqvist's otherworldly numbers, but are the best postseason stats he's put up since registering a 1.65 GAA and .934 percentage in that 2003 title spring. What to expect After a month of craziness, these two teams bring back good old-fashioned playoff hockey. The Rangers got a good taste of it against the surprisingly-resilient Capitals in Round 2, and the Devils tried their hardest to recapture it while taming a wildly erratic Flyers team. But as sad as it is to say, with all the offensive stars sitting out this round, these two teams will have the opportunity to grind out some victories with a combination of stout defense, lucky bounces, and some hard-nosed crease play by third- and fourth-line role players. New York's Fedotenko and Hagelin can't continue to go scoreless. Kovalchuk may go scoreless when he sees the Rangers' top defensive matchups at Madison Square Garden; that leaves the door open for guys like Adam Henrique to step up and be the hero, or for Alexei Ponikarovsky -- in danger this offseason of setting the NHL record for being traded or dumped by the most teams in a career -- to come through with another clutch game-winner. Bottom line? Expect a lot of 2-1 and 3-2 games. Expect an empty net at one end of the ice in the final minute of each game. Expect a lot of shot-blocking and puck battles, with a mild physical flavor to those battles. In essence, expect a repeat of the Capitals-Rangers series, where New Jersey breathes a sigh of relief that it no longer has to suffer the goonery of a frustrated Philadelphia squad. X-Factor Who's going to be more special? New Jersey had the top penalty kill in the league during the regular season, denying opponents 89.6 percent of the time. But in the first round, the Devils killed only 66.7 percent of Florida's power-play chances, and didn't fare much better against Philadelphia's lethal man-advantage. Their playoff composite of 73.9 percent is by far the worst penalty-killing team remaining, but their power play, converting at a 20.9-percent clip, is by far the best among the remaining four teams. New York's power play was atrocious in the regular season at 15.7 percent success, and has been just a tick less horrific in the playoffs, finding the net 15.8 percent of the time. Its penalty kill, which finished fifth in the regular season with a respectable 86.2-percent success rate, has avoided a goal only 82.6 percent of the time. The Rangers' ability to figure out the Devils when they're not playing five on five may be the axis on which this series turns. Prediction New Jersey in seven. The Rangers couldn't score much against a journeyman like Ottawa's Craig Anderson or an emergency AHL call-up like Braden Holtby. They won't suddenly find that spark playing against a living legend in the crease and an underrated blueline corps in front of him.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Rangers-Devils renew rivalry, Cup berth on line

It's been 18 years since Stephane Matteau forever etched his name into hockey history with a wraparound goal that launched the New York Rangers-New Jersey Devils rivalry well beyond just a common border war. Matteau ended Game 7 of the 1994 Eastern Conference finals with an unlikely goal in double overtime, beating goalie Martin Brodeur and the Devils and sending the Rangers...

Rangers Recall McIlrath, Erixon, Miller & 3 Others From Connecticut

Press Release New York, May 15, 2012 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has recalled six players from the Connecticut Whale of the American Hockey League (AHL) – goaltender Cam Talbot; defensemen Tim Erixon and Dylan McIlrath; and forwards J.T. Miller, Kris Newbury and Casey Wellman. Talbot, [...]

Holik previews Rangers v Devils, remembers '94

When the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils meet tonight in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, it will mark a rematch 18 years later of one of the great series in Stanley Cup Playoff history. En route to their first Cup in 54 years, the Rangers needed seven games to get past the Devils in a series that included three double overtime games. Games 3 and 7 were both double...

ECF Game 1 Preview: New York Rangers vs New Jersey Devils

TONIGHT’S GAME: The Rangers will face-off against the New Jersey Devils tonight at Madison Square Garden (8:00 p.m.; TV: NBC Sports Network; Radio: ESPN Radio), in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final. New York is coming off a 2-1 win on Saturday at Madison Square Garden, in Game 7 of their Conference Semifinal series [...]

Devils vs. Rangers: Series Preview

Here we are. Nine years removed from the Eastern Conference Finals and the Devils are finally back. With the series set to begin on Monday, May 14 at Madison Square Garden, the Devils will look to make the most of their brief time off and win over the New York Rangers. New York and New Jersey are ready to add another chapter to their historic rivalry.Who: The sixth-seeded New Jersey...

Game 1: Rangers Shutout Devils

Well that didn’t go exactly as we had hoped. I wasn’t 100% confident that we could go in there and win Game 1 but I did think that we would have generated a little more offense than we did. We knew the Rangers do a great job at blocking shots but even though we knew it, it’s still so frustrating to see. I’m not going to take anything away from Lundqvist, he is a good goalie...

Pregame: Rangers and Devils Open Conference Finals Tonight at MSG

I'd open this by saying that the day has finally come in which the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils open the Eastern Conference Finals, but it's only been one full day since the Blueshirts knocked off the Washington Capitals in Game 7 of that semifinal series. Therefore, there hasn't been much opportunity for the lead-up hype to expand, but then again, a Rangers...

ECF Game 1: Devils at Rangers

Series: Tied 0-0 NYR Leading Scorer: Brad Richards (6-5-11) NJD Leading Scorer: Ilya Kovalchuk (5-7-12) NYR Goaltender: Henrik Lundqvist (14 GS, 1.68 GAA, .940 SV%) NJD Goaltender: Martin Brodeur (12 GS, 2.05 GAA, .920 SV%) Rangers Lines: Carl Hagelin-Brad Richards-Marian Gaborik Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Ryan Callahan Artem Anisimov-Brian Boyle-Brandon Prust Mike Rupp-John Mitchell...

Series preview: Rangers vs. Devils

1) Rangers vs. 6) DevilsHow they got here…(1) Rangers-ECQ: Beat (8) Senators in 7ECS: Beat (7) Capitals in 7(6) Devils-ECQ: Beat (3) Panthers in 7ECS: Beat (5) Flyers in 5Season Series…Tied 3-3Previous Playoff Meetings…2008 ECQ: (5) Rangers over (4) Devils in 52006 ECQ: (3) Devils over (6) Rangers in 41997 ECS: (5) Rangers over (1) Devils in 51994 ECF: (1) Rangers over (3)...

Devils Have to Be Better

After last night's Game 1 loss to the Rangers the Devils talked about being better for Game 2 (via Bergen Record)...Zach Parise..."We have to be better and we know that and we will be. We played well for 40 minutes and that was it. And that last 20 we let slip away a little bit and they took advantage of it and that's the game right there."Patrick Elias..."...

Report: Another Cup for Brodeur?

Martin Brodeur has done just about everything an NHL netminder could ever hope to do. He's the all-time leader in wins, shutouts and games played by a goalie on top of being the proud owner of three Stanley Cup titles. As careers go, they just don't get much better than this. On top of all that, Brodeur still has a chance to add to his storied career -- even at age 40. The...

Rangers are becoming Game 7 specialists

Bring on the New Jersey Devils. Finally. The New York Rangers endured their second consecutive tooth-and-nail series, needing seven games again to vanquish the Washington Capitals with a typically tight 2-1 victory Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. The Eastern Conference champs in the regular season also needed the full allotment of games to dismiss No. 8 seed Ottawa in...

Todd Cordell: NHL ECF Preview: New Jersey Devils @ New York Rangers - Game 1

*stats based on playoffs. Match-up - Devils (48 wins, 102 points) @ Rangers (51 wins, 109 points) Road/Home records - 24-15-2 -------------- 27-12-2 TV - NBCSN (HD), CBC (HD), RDS (HD) Puck drop - 8:00 PM ET Series score - 0-0 Projected starting goalies - Martin Brodeur (NJ) vs. Henrik Lundqvist (NYR) Battle of the stats Goals for/against per game * New York Rangers...

Todd Cordell: Devils effort goes to waste as Rangers shutout New Jersey 3-0 in Game 1

Though the New Jersey Devils carried play for the majority of the game, they could not capitalize on their chances and the New York Rangers did just that. That was the difference, and that's why the Rangers now hold a 1-0 series lead. Here are some notes on last night's game. - I was very impressed with the Devils effort level yesterday night. They won most of the puck...

Patrick Elias eats a puck, basically shakes it off

A half shield isn’t enough to protect Patrick Elias of the New Jersey Devils from this errant deflection in last nights Game 1 victory for the New York Rangers. Breaking sports news video. MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL highlights and more. Yep, hockey players are pretty tough. They also have fewer teeth and suffer concussions that [...]
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.