The New York Rangers made the short trip to Newark, New Jersey’s Prudential Center last night to take on the New Jersey Devils. The result was a 4-1 New York victory which was a much closer game than the final score would indicate.
As always with these two teams, there was physical play, end-to-end action and terrific saves at both ends by the goaltenders.
To give you an idea of what a Rangers vs Devils game is like, the first fight of the evening came at 0:03 of the first period. That’s right, THREE SECONDS after the opening faceoff there was a fight between Mike Rupp of NY and NJ’s Cam Janssen. With a decided reach advantage, Rupp landed more blows but in the end it was a close bout without many haymakers landed but it certainly set the tone and sent a message that this was going to be a hard fought game.
New Jersey had the edge in play through the first period, out-shooting the Rangers by a margin of 12-4 and scoring the lone goal, a rebound shot which Travis Zajac put up and over sprawling goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.
New York picked up their play in period number two, hitting the goal post behind Devils goalie Martin Brodeur at least 3 separate times and finally evened the score at 1 when Artem Anisimov converted a centering feed from Derek Stepan. Stepan’s pass deflected off a Devils defenseman right onto the stick of a charging Anisimov who buried it behind Brodeur for his 7th tally of the season.
The Rangers took the lead for good in the third period on a goal by Marian Gaborik. Another strong play by Anisimov resulted in a shot on goal which was stopped by Brodeur but he couldn’t handle the rebound and Gaborik banged it home for the 2-1 lead.
New Jersey threatened to tie it up on a number of chances but Lundqvist was stellar between the pipes, turning back a total of 30 shots by the end of the game.
It appeared a gaff by Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh would give the Devils a chance to tie it as he took a two minute minor for closing his hand on the puck with 6:57 remaning in the third period.
However, it was the Rangers who took advantage as a clearing attempt by Rangers dman Stu Bickel – playing in his first NHL game – went past Ilya Kovalchuk at the Devils’ point and was pounced upon by speedy NY rookie Carl Hagelin. Hagelin broke down 2-on-1 with Brian Boyle and rifled a shot past a stunned Brodeur for a shorthanded goal which gave the visitors a two goal cushion. It marked the 10th shorthanded goal surrendered by the Devils this season, the most given up by any team in the league.
Gaborik put the icing on the cake with an empty net goal in the final 4 seconds of the game. The two goal game gives Gaborik 19 on the season after netting just 22 last year.
The two teams are battling for playoff position in the NHL’s Eastern Conference and will meet up several more times before the year is over.
Find New York Rangers tickets or New Jersey Devils tickets at SelectATicket.com for each of the teams’ home games.