In the previous 19 games the Devils had played at Madison Square Garden, the visitors had come away with at least a point. In the past 42 regular season games between the two clubs the Rangers have registered just an 8-28-15-1…all with Martin Brodeur in net. And with the Rangers #1 netminder Kevin Weekes sidelined with a groin injury, and the Rangers coming off a disappointing 3-2 loss to the Capitals, the home team was attempting to take home the two points on the back of rookie Henrik Lundqvist making just his second NHL start.
To say the stage was set for a remarkable game, would have been an understatement.
Once again the Rangers got off to a good start, putting pressure on the Devils defense with a strong forecheck, and leading the way in shots early in the period. It wasn’t necessarily either however that gave the Rangers the first goal. Martin Rucinsky skating in along the boards to the right of Brodeur proved the old adage “throw the puck at the net and good things will happen” true when, faced with little alternative, he let a wrist shot go and beat Brodeur along the ice.
Just seventeen seconds later and the Rangers brought the MSG crowd to their feet when Jed Ortmeyer separately pressured two Devils players to force the puck into their own zone and ultimately causing a turnover, allowing Ville Nieminen to backhand a bouncing puck over the shoulder of Brodeur. The Rangers suddenly had the momentum, and it wasn’t long before they capitalized once again, again off of a turnover.
Jason Ward, who had a strong game at both ends of the ice, forced a turnover in the Neutral zone and Martin Straka skated his way towards the net to get a soft shot off. Brodeur was unable to control the rebound, and Blair Betts tapped in the puck as both he and Ward drove to the net for the loose puck. The Rangers finished out one of their best periods in recent memory with a 3-0 lead, with goals from 3 separate lines…none of them featuring Jaromir Jagr.
The home team eased off in the second, managing just four shots on goal and it was now up to Henrik Lundqvist to prove his worth. The young netminder looked nervous at times, but played strong positioning and was a perfect 8 for 8 on Devils shots in the second period.
It wasn’t until the third period that the Devils finally were able to break through. With both teams skating four aside, the Rangers missed the opportunity to clear the puck out of their zone, ultimately allowing former Ranger defenseman Vladimir Malakhov to get a slap shot on net, which Lundqvist was unable to gain control of. Brian Gionta, clearly the best Devil on the night, beat Tom Poti to the loose puck and was able to reach around the post to tap in the loose puck to pull his team back within two.
The goal clearly gave the Devils some life, but the Rangers and Lundqvist weathered the storm. Jaromir Jagr sealed the game midway through the period with another of his patented wrist shots on the power play, as he looked off Brodeur and beat him to the short side. Jagr commented after the game that he was always happy to beat Brodeur, the best goaltender in the world.
Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur also added his thoughts, saying the Rangers had gotten out to a lead and then played “good Devils hockey”, to seal the game.
Notes: Marek Malik returned to the line-up after a one game absence due a sore groin. Bryce Lampman and Ryan Hollweg were sent down to allow for the return of Jason Strudwick and the call up of Al Montoya, who backed up Lundqvist on the night.
The Rangers next game will be 7:00pm at MSG v Atlanta this coming Saturday
|OTG Star Rangers|
|A||Blair Betts||Strong forechecking game, picked up his goal driving to the net|
|A||Henrik Lundqvist||Rookie starting in his first game in MSG played with incredible poise|
|A||Ville Nieminen||Several hits, a goal and strong forechecking…what more could you want?|
|A||Jed Ortmeyer||All over the ice, hitting forcing turnovers. Classic Ortmeyer game|
|A||Martin Straka||Looked to have really benefited from moving down to the Betts line. Became their puck distributor|
|A-||Maxim Kondratiev||Big slap shot in the first may have contributed to Brodeur’s tough night|
|A-||Marek Malik||Showed no ill effects from groin injury|
|A-||Dominic Moore||Hard skating game for Moore|
|A-||Michal Rozsival||Even saw some hitting from Rozsival, smart play protecting the puck for one goal|
|A-||Martin Rucinsky||Got the puck on net and picked up a surprising first goal|
|A-||Jason Ward||Hard working game, forced several turnovers|
|B+||Darius Kasparaitis||Kasparaitis played a smart game|
|B+||Petr Prucha||Strong forechecking helped create turnovers for the Rangers top line|
|B+||Steve Rucchin||Steady shifts as second line center|
|B+||Fedor Tyutin||Better effort from Tyutin after Monday’s poor game|
|B||Marcel Hossa||Quiet game for the big winger|
|B||Jaromir Jagr||Seemed to be overshadowed somewhat by the strong play of the team|
|B||Michael Nylander||Along with Jagr, had little actually affect on the game|
|B||Tom Poti||Had little impact on the game negatively or positively|
|A||Tom Renney||Had his team learn the lesson from last week’s game|
|Jamie Lundmark was a healthy scratches, Kevin Weekes sat out with a groin injury and Jason Strudwick was out on personal leave|
|Darius Kasparaitis, Steve Rucchin and Jaromir Jagr each wore an “A” for the game|
|Ville Nieminen and Blair Betts registered their first goals as a Ranger|
|Maxim Kondratiev registered his first NHL point, an assist|
|Michal Rozsival registered his first point as a Ranger|
|Blair Betts – 5 games|
Marcel Hossa – 5 games
Jaromir Jagr – 5 games
Darius Kasparaitis – 5 games
Dominic Moore – 5 games
Michael Nylander – 5 games
Jed Ortmeyer – 5 games
Michal Rozsival – 5 games
Steve Rucchin – 5 games
Martin Rucinsky – 5 games
Martin Straka – 5 games
Fedor Tyutin – 5 games
Jason Ward – 5 games
Maxim Kondratiev – 3 games
Tom Poti – 2 games
|Jaromir Jagr – 2 games (2 goals)|
|Jaromir Jagr – 2 games (2 goals)|
|Darius Kasparaitis – 5 games (8 minors)|
Ryan Hollweg – 3 games (4 minors)
Jamie Lundmark – 2 games (3 minors)
|Shots on Goal|
|Jaromir Jagr – 5 games (26 shots)|
Martin Rucinsky – 5 games (16 shots)
Marcel Hossa – 5 games (9 shots)
Fedor Tyutin – 5 games (8 shots)
Marek Malik – 4 games (9 shots)
Michael Nylander – 4 games (10 shots)
Blair Betts – 3 games (7 shots)
Dominic Moore – 2 games (4 shots)
Ville Nieminen – 2 games (2 shots)
|Games with a power play goal scored – 6 games (9 goals)|
Games without being shutout – 7 games (3/30/2004 v Devils)
Games with at least 2 goals scored – 7 games
Games since last shutout – 16 games (3/9/2004 v Thrashers)
Games with 2 or fewer goals conceded – 2 games
Games with 3 or fewer goals conceded – 3 games
Games with 4 or fewer goals conceded – 7 games
Games with 5 or fewer goals conceded – 18 games
Games with 6 or fewer goals conceded – 18 games
Games with 7 or fewer goals conceded – 38 games
Games with 8 or fewer goals conceded – 38 games