RAISE GRESCH WITH THE GREATS and
THE BRICK CITY DEMONS
2011 - 2012
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
BATTLE OF THE HUDSON
GAME ONE FINAL
N.J. Devils 0
N.Y. Rangers 3
Henrik Lundqvist, One - Martin Brodeur, Zero.
If you're really keeping score, that's Henrik's second shutout over the Devils this season, versus one shutout for Martin Brodeur.
Tried as the Devils might in a furious second period, The King offered no quarter. New Jersey had all the opportunities they wanted materialize against the Rangers, so let us not confuse matters. This was a shutout of a well rested New Jersey team that routinely stung Philadelphia in the last round for four goals a night.
Just ask Zach Parise about having great chances against The King. Dan Girardi turned over the puck right in front of Henrik (a-la Michael Del Zotta), in which Lundqvist rejected three point blank shots and self-rebounds taken by the Devils' Captain. There's your game story right there.
Ryan McDonagh was just a step ahead of New Jersey's other two best chances of the night. His speed and ability to get back to break up two break away chances was a story. And Chris Kreider continuing to emerge - those are the stories, not the growing outcry over blocked shots ever since Larry Brooks wrote a Sunday piece about that in the post Lock-Out/Cap era. The rest of the know-nothings picked up on this item and are now driving it into the ground. Worse, they're already debating on how the League should reconfigure the rules. Ponderous. These people are mad! Why? Cause they don't know Hockey! Had Larry Brooks not written anything, these cats on the radio would know nothing. But I digress.
The two McDonagh plays were reminiscent to the same two plays Alex Ovechkin, and Chimera, each darted off one step ahead of Stu Bickel in the previous round. Eventually, the Rangers are going to get burnt off the wing when the two back guys stray in too deep. Just remember, four times is a trend.
Martin Brodeur was equally stingy right up to the opening minute of the third period. Then Marty's wall sprung a leak. Dan Girardi took a brilliant feed from Chris Kreider and converted the game's first goal. The leak then became a steady flow. Eleven minutes later, Chris Kreider continued to author the forward on his own career, scoring his third goal of the playoffs, a power play goal, which put the Blueshirts up 2-0, with eight minutes left in regulation. The flow, became a torrent. Artem Anisimov scored on an empty net at the 18:33 mark.
Henrik faced twenty-one shots and stopped them all. Martin Brodeur faced twenty-seven Ranger shots on goal, letting two get by.
Four whistles each are probably more than either team wanted to draw from the Stripes. The Rangers were 1 for 4 on the power play, while the Devils went scoreless in their four opportunities. But it was that first goal by Girardi, in which the Devils got caught in a line change because Kreider was quick to a puck in the offensive zone, that ruined New Jersey's night.
Henrik ensured that goal held up. One game to none, Rangers. Game Two Wednesday night at The Garden. See you there.