Rangers-Devils Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated May 18, 2012
For one game, at least, in the Eastern Conference finals, the New Jersey Devils found a way to beat Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers. After losing out in the Rangers' block party in Game 1, the Devils found a solution in Game 2. They forechecked, moved the puck, didn't give the New York defense time to set up, shot quickly and got traffic in front of the Rangers' goaltender. It wasn't anything novel. It was Hockey 101, and a better effort than in the opener of the best-of-7 series. Now it's the Rangers' turn to respond as the series shifts to New Jersey for Game 3 at the Prudential Center on Saturday. ''We know the Rangers are going to push,'' Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. ''We know they're going to come out and play a great hockey game tomorrow. It's on us to do the same thing. So I expect it to be the best game of the series tomorrow from both ends.'' Both teams returned to the ice on Friday and, of course, continued to tweak their games. ''I think both teams,'' DeBoer said, ''are going to take their game to another level.'' At the least, the Devils need to prevent the Rangers from blocking shots again. New York blocked 26 in its 3-0 win in Game 1, but New Jersey did a much better job in getting rubber at Lundqvist in evening the series on Wednesday. ''They do a great job of blocking shots, but the reality of it is that we have to get two or three guys in front and then somehow get the puck through,'' said Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador, who had assists on New Jersey's final two goals, including the primary one on Ryan Carter's game-tying goal late in the second period Wednesday. ''They do it more than anyone. We have to maintain some sort of presence in front of the net. It doesn't have to be a great shot, but it has to get there. I tried to get it to the side of the goal and Carter got to it. If we don't try, then nothing goes in. We have to get the pucks to the net to create second shots.'' Devils center Travis Zajac, who was reunited with Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk as his wings in Game 2, said New Jersey was able to apply more pressure the second time around. ''The focus will continue to be to get as many pucks to the net as possible,'' he said. ''If we move the puck quickly, we don't give them a chance to set up, so that helps. I think we also won battles earlier in the shift to get to the point where they couldn't block shots.'' Losing the battles didn't sit well with Rangers coach John Tortorella. New York posted the best record in the conference by winning the little wars all season, and wouldn't have survived two seven-game series vs. Ottawa and Washington to get to this point, had it not showed that kind of grit. ''I think that's a big part of how we play,'' Tortorella said Friday. ''Big, small or medium build, we play hard along the boards. Obviously, that was void the other night. So no matter who it is, when you're at this point in the season, you're playing against teams that we're playing against, Jersey, and the other two teams playing in the West, that's a big part of playoff hockey. That's a big part of who we are, and we certainly have to be more consistent with that part.'' For the most part, the Devils have dumped the puck into the Rangers' end instead of trying to skate it into the zone, and the Rangers defense has been quick to the puck. The Game 2 board battles, though, went in the Devils' favor and that allowed them to shoot more. Plus, the increased traffic appears to have helped. But Lundqvist isn't so sure. He felt the Senators and Capitals got more players in front of him in the first two rounds. The Devils are just better with their sticks, perhaps. ''Jersey has always been good at knocking pucks down,'' Lundqvist said. ''So you have to respect that. We just have to play them hard. I don't think they played more in front than the other teams we've played. But, again, they're a good team, a skilled team that always, like I said, is knocking pucks down. ''Especially in the middle of the ice. If you try to go across or something like that, they're very good at going the other way. So we've talked about a few things, and we're going to correct it and be better.'' They'll need to be. The Devils, after all, have won four consecutive home playoff games. NOTES: Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky, who was hurt in the opening series against Ottawa, skated Friday, but Tortorella had no update on his condition. ... DeBoer said there is a chance that defenseman Henrik Tallinder (blood clot) and C Jacob Josefson (broken wrist) might be ready to return sometime during this series. ... This is the only game in the East Finals with two days off leading up to it. From Game 4 on, the series will resume every other day.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Heat still hoping to trade Bosh

Report: Kaepernick wants $9 million, chance to start

Jose Canseco to join NBC Sports California for A’s coverage

NFL owners to rake in absurd money in relocation fees

Report: Childs facing aggravated assault, pot possession charges

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Browns looking to ‘make another run’ at Garoppolo

NFL Annual Meeting primer: Raiders, rule proposals, etc.

Why the Celtics have a chance against the Cavs in the playoffs

Luke Maye attends 8 a.m. class day after hitting game-winner

Bill O’Brien ducks Tony Romo question, praises Tom Savage

Trevone Boykin arrested after car crashes into Dallas bar

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Best of Yardbarker: Did Team USA's victory save the World Baseball Classic?

Breaking down the Naismith Award race

Box Score 3/24: Waiting on West Virginia

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

With Team USA's victory, World Baseball Classic (finally) lived up to its potential

The NFL distraction playbook

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

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

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Best of Yardbarker: Did Team USA's victory save the World Baseball Classic?

Breaking down the Naismith Award race

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

The NFL distraction playbook

With Team USA's victory the WBC (finally) lived up to its potential

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

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