Originally written on Red Light District Hockey  |  Last updated 11/19/14


1) Rangers vs. 6) Devils


How they got here…

(1) Rangers-

ECQ: Beat (8) Senators in 7

ECS: Beat (7) Capitals in 7

(6) Devils-

ECQ: Beat (3) Panthers in 7

ECS: Beat (5) Flyers in 5


Season Series…

Tied 3-3


Previous Playoff Meetings…

2008 ECQ: (5) Rangers over (4) Devils in 5

2006 ECQ: (3) Devils over (6) Rangers in 4

1997 ECS: (5) Rangers over (1) Devils in 5

1994 ECF: (1) Rangers over (3) Devils in 7

1992 DS: (1) Rangers over (4) Devils in 7


Tale of the Tape…

Forwards-

Edge: Devils… On paper these two look even, but the Devils’ forward corps is flat out playing better right now.

Defensemen-

Edge: Rangers… The Blueshirts are surrendering 1.86 goals against per game in the playoffs and blocking shots like crazy.

Goaltending-

Edge: Even… Henrik Lundqvist vs. Martin Brodeur.  Yeah, this should be good.

Special Teams-

Edge: Even… The Rangers’ penalty kill is a tad better than the Devils’; vice versa on the power play.

Coaching-

Edge: Rangers… Peter DeBoer is entering uncharted territory, while John Tortorella has been in this position before and has a Cup ring.

Experience-

Edge: Devils… The Rangers have a few veterans that have won the Cup, but also have a slew of youngsters.

Health-

Edge: Even… No injuries that will affect either team's ability to win this series.


Keys to the Series…

Rangers-

1. Frustrate Kovalchuk… Ilya Kovalchuk’s team-leading 12 points has him in Conn Smythe contention.  The $100 million man is playing with a lot of confidence, which means the Rangers have to put a stop to that.  How do you frustrate Kovalchuk?  Hit him.  Hit him again.  Block his shots.  Take away scoring chances.  Get in his passing lanes.  The Rangers saw Alex Ovechkin score big goals in Round 2, but only in Capitals wins.  If the Rangers can get Kovalchuk off his game, it’ll force Zach Parise and others to do all the work.

2. Secondary scoring… As much as they need to nullify Kovalchuk, the Rangers need more offense throughout their lineup.  Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik did most of the yeomen’s work in Round 2; now it’s time for the secondary producers to step up.  Ryan Callahan, Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin combined for just one goal against Washington.  New Jersey’s secondary scorers have risen to the occasion all postseason; the Rangers need to see the same thing happen here in Round 3.


Devils-

1. Brodeur answer Lundqvist… When it comes to goaltending in these playoffs, everyone is talking about the likes of Jonathan Quick, Mike Smith and Henrik Lundqvist.  Furthermore, Lundqvist has made one clutch save after another in the playoffs, willing the Rangers to a pair of Game 7 victories.  The Devils will need Brodeur, who has been solid in his own right, to match Lundqvist save for save and steal some games.  If so, the Devils have a good chance to prevail.

2. Win special teams battle… Though these two teams are more even than the seeds suggest, it always seem like the underdogs need to have big efforts on special teams to win series… and that’s what the Devils need to do in this series.  Their power play has been consistent all postseason, but the penalty kill could be better.  If they can win the special teams battle, it would force the Rangers to win the 5-on-5 battle – an area where the Devils have been the NHL’s best in the playoffs.


Why the Rangers will win…

It almost feels like destiny is on their side.  Their season and playoff run have felt similar to their Cup run in 1994.  Oh yeah, they beat the Devils in the conference finals that spring.  One big reason why the Rangers are still around is the fact that former Conn Smythe winner Brad Richards is finally living up to his big contract.  It will only help if he carries over his great play from Round 2.  Another reason to like the Rangers is Lundqvist.  Not taking anything away from Brodeur, but ‘King Henrik’ has some serious mojo going right now and has come through in the clutch when the team has needed him.  If it’s a long series, their home-ice advantage will come into play.


Why the Devils will win…

New Jersey will win this series if Parise and Kovalchuk are as affective as they were in Round 2 against Philadelphia.  If they are just as effective, that would mean the Rangers defense wouldn’t be doing their job in slowing down the Devils offense.  If this were any ordinary 1 vs. 6 matchup in the conference final, the top seed would be the hands-down favorite.  But the Devils know this Rangers team very well.  They match up well against Tortorella’s gang, which is greater than the sum of their parts.  In the end, one reason to like the Devils is Brodeur’s experience.  This is his sixth trip to the conference finals; Lundqvist has never been.


Forecast…

One of the league’s best top rivalries will be renewed here in the third round.  The Devils raised a lot of eyebrows by making quick work of Philadelphia, while the Rangers outlasted Washington in a back-and-forth slugfest.  Like most playoff series, this could come down to goaltending.  But I give the edge to whichever team gets more contributions throughout its lineup.  I have a feeling the Rangers have just enough to slow down the confident Devils.

Prediction: Rangers in 6


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

MLBPA reacts to Kris Bryant's minor league assignment

Gregg Marshall's show canceled, Bama speculation grows

Report: Shaka Smart in discussions with Texas

Report: Rick Barnes expected to land at Tennessee

Demaryius Thomas planning to skip Broncos' workouts

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rockets GM: We think we can win NBA title despite injuries

Browns GM Ray Farmer suspended over text messages

Aaron Hernandez's fiancee disposed of box after murder

Byron Scott: Opposing players say they want to play for Lakers

Falcons reportedly will lose pick over pumping in crowd noise

Report: Sam Bradford wouldn't sign extension with Browns

10 winners and losers from the past week in the NFL

University of California soccer player found dead

Joe Namath parties with twin 100 year-old women

WATCH: Mike Napoli hits home run as bat shatters

WATCH: Marc Gasol misses shot, rips jersey in disgust

PHOTO: Minor league team to wear Jabba the Hutt jerseys

Lions LB DeAndre Levy takes ride on top of a moving plane

Colts owner addresses Indiana religious freedom bill

John Calipari addresses controversial ND comments

Arizona coach Sean Miller rips critics: 'Go cheer for ASU'

Report: NFL could push extra point back to 15-yard line

Urban Meyer: 'No issue' with Braxton Miller's Instagram post

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

10 winners and losers from the past week in the NFL

Namath parties with 100 yr-old women

Report: Shaka Smart talking to Texas

Rick Barnes to land at Tennessee?

Browns GM suspended for texts

Hernandez's fiancee disposed of box

Mayweather-Pacquiao: It's sparring tall-tale season

The MLBPA has a problem

Final Four preview: Can every team win?

Full WrestleMania 31 recap and results

Why Texas had to fire Rick Barnes

Craig Sager's leukemia has returned

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.