Sunday, October 24, 2010

Rangers-Devils ~ The BATTLE of the HUDSON

New Jersey DEVILS 2-5-1
New York RANGERS 3-2-1

October 24, 2010

The BATTLE of the HUDSON Resumes

Devils:  Ilya Kovalchuk is dressed but there is still no word whether he will be skating tonight.  Coach MacLean and the New Jersey Devils have been tight lipped about yesterday's Coach's decision to make Kovalchuk a healthy scratch.  The Devils are reeling right now.  Their defense is non-existent and they are at the bottom of the League in goals scored.  They lost an embarrassing game to the Sabres by a score of 6-1.  The attempt to rest Marty Brodeur yesterday was foiled due to a poor over-all showing by both back-up goalie Johan Hedberg and any of the five uniformed Devils on the ice at any time last night.  It remains to be seen whether Johnny Mac's decisions last night will translate into a better effort on the part of the Devils tonight. 
**Ilya Kovalchuk IS starting and will be on the first line.

Blueshirts:  There's probably no better team right now than the Devils to build upon the two game win streak the Rangers have started.  Their last two games against the Maple Leafs and last night against the Bruins, both on the road, were hard earned, tough, gritty efforts that translated into the win column.  The Rangers are still without Drury, Gaborik and Prospal and will be for some time.  In their absence, Artem Anisimov has been effective and has scored 3 goals.  Brandon Dubinsky is playing some very spirited and smart hockey this season.   Brandon Prust is suited up and ready to play tonight after taking a high stick to the eye last night.  Henrik was able to enjoy his day off with few worries because Martin Biron filled in very nicely achieving a win against the Leafs.  Henrik should be feeling good after the day off and last night's win.

Brodeur however, had his day off ruined and wound up on the ice anyway.  It's hard to tell which Devils team the Rangers get tonight; whether they'll be a rededicated bunch with Kovalchuk back on the ice, or the same reeling band from the last 4 four games or so.  If the Rangers play the way they did over the last two games, it shouldn't matter which N.J. team shows up.

Enjoy the Game!

FIRST PERIOD:  Devils 0  ~  Rangers 0
Both goalies were sharp.  Martin Brodeur stopped a shot from Del Zotto of the face-off that showed me he's as good as ever.  Maybe the Rangers bring out the best and worst in him at times.  Tonight he looks spot on his game.  Henrik is holding his own; lookin' like a King.  He stopped another shot with his crown (Grrr!).

The Devils had 10 shots on goal; the Rangers 17.  Dubinsky and Callahan are leading the Rangers in ice time with over 7:00 minutes each.

Sean Avery was the victim of a bad call (!) of a high stick at the 0.40 mark.  When the 2nd period starts the Devils will continue on the PP for 1:11.  Otherwise, the Devils are 0-1 on the PP.  The Rangers had two opportunities with the man advantage and are 0-2.

Not that the Rangers have mustered anything yet, but Elias, Arnott and Parise are all non-factors thus far.

The Devils, of all things DEVILS, are losing in the neutral zone; something once upon a time unheard of.

SECOND PERIOD: Rangers 2  ~  Devils 0
MARRR - Teeee!    MARRR - Teeee!  ...So chanted the Garden Crowd.

Roszival rifled a shot from top of the circle and Fedotenko was there for a deflection 1:26 into the period after killing off the remaining penalty time to Avery carried over from the first period.   At 12:22 Brandon Dubinsky wrist-ed a pass to a centering Callahan for another deflection goal; this one came on the PP.  The Callahan goal was his first of the season.  Last night he scored his 100th NHL point with an assist.  Two deflection goals came in high traffic, in front of Brodeur, with Blueshirts virtually unharassed by a Devil defender. 

The Rangers had 12 shots on goal; the Devils 6.

MARRR - Teeee !!   MARRR - Teeee!

Jamie Langenbrunner has three penalty minors called against him so far.  The Devils had three penalties in the period and killed off two successfully.  The Rangers were 1-3 on the PP.  They committed one penalty (Roszival) and killed it.

The Devils can't cycle the puck; they can't keep the puck in the offensive zone; they've allowed the rangers to enter their zone easily and they are losing the neutral zone.  Hence, they are losing two goals to one.

Elias, Arnott, Parise, Kovalchuk.....MIA.   The Rangers need a solid third period now to close this game out in high fashion.  Allowing the Devils to get back in this will be an open door for talk of inconsistent hockey again.  They can end that conversation before it ever starts with a good period.

***Roszival now credited with goal (not Fedotenko).***

THIRD PERIOD: Rangers 3  ~  Devils 1   FINAL.
The Devils clearly carried the play in the last period.  They actually came on with fury after Kovalchuk scored his third goal of the year.  The Rangers simply could not get out of their own zone for most of the period.  King Henrik came up with a bunch of stellar saves to keep the Devils at one goal.  But the Rangers were able to close out the period in a most satisfying way.  At the 1.01 mark the Devils pulled goalie Martin Brodeur and with exactly one second left in play, Dubinsky fired a shot from the defensive zone and found an empty net for a 3-1 Ranger lead and a vicory one tick later.

At 1:59 Lundqvist made a beautiful save on a shot by Josefson.  Shortly after he made another save with chaos in front of the net where he thought the puck was behind him.  He made the save and looked back as the Rangers cleared the puck in front of Henrik to the side boards.  He stopped 27 shots on goal tonight.  Henrik is now 19-7-5 versus Martin Brodeur.

In a game that started out as another tight battle between the rival goalies, the Rangers were able to open things up in the second period and make it stand.  The Rangers tightened up their game late again, just like their last game, where they did not committ a penalty down the stretch.  They looked either a little tired or complacent in the 3rd period from about 10 minutes on.  The Kovalchuk goal inspired the Devils to play better but the Rangers withstood the Devil charge and protected what was a one goal lead.

The Rangers certainly had chances to up their goal total tonight, but in the end it's recorded as a 3-1 win.  The Rangers have won three in a row now.  Their season record improves to 4-2-1.  And remember they've been doing this without the services of Gaborik, Drury and Prospal....Ay?!   The Thrashers visit 7th Avenue and 33rd Street this Wednesday night.

The Devils drop to 2-6-1 in this early season.  They now have 15 goals for and 30 goals against.  Coach MacLean and Asst. Coach Larry Robinson have their hands full.  There are still a lot of wrinkles in this team that must be straightened out.  As we've seen, Coach Mac is already wielding a hot iron.  Things got just a little gloomier for them tonight; ~ Simply beDeviling.


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