EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
BATTLE OF THE HUDSON
GAME TWO FINAL:
N.J. Devils 3
N.Y. Rangers 2
SERIES TIED 1-1
I - NYR 3; NJD 0
II - NJD 3; NYR 2
III - Saturday @ NJ
Kung-Fu Marty Back-Kicks Rangers
During warm ups, I told my son to keep his eye on Dave Clarkson at all times, and on Adam Henrique when the Devils had the puck. Then with the score tied at two heading into the third period, the person to my left asked me what I thought. I told her - I didn't know, and what bothered me was Dave Clarkson and Patrick Elias haven't really shown up for the Devils yet. I was saying that about them last round also.
Then sure enough, at 2:31 of the third period, there were Adam Henrique and David Clarkson putting the Devils ahead 3-2, which would turn out to be for good. If Dave Clarkson plays the rest of the series like he played in Game Two, the Rangers will have a big problem on their hands.
The Rangers have enough problems already. For the second consecutive game, the Devils were better along the boards, crisper with their passes, and possessed the puck and played in the offensive zone a lot more than the Blueshirts did. Only this time, that all translated into a win for New Jersey, as they took a game outright from the Rangers.
Their top scorer, Ilya Kovalchuk, is scoring, a bouncy puck laid flat when New Jersey possessed the puck, and New Jersey now has Kung-Fu Marty between the pipes. Martin Brodeur had himself a game of the ages; making a series of ridiculous saves. On one save in particular, laid out on his belly, and made a back-kick save with the heel of his skate. That's the kind of night it was for the Rangers.
Martin Brodeur faced twenty-five shots and made twenty-three saves. His Devils mates took care of the rest. And I'm sure Coach Torts is not all too pleased about it. Expect Stu Bickel to wake up tomorrow morning in the dog house. He had a terrible game. Many more would find themselves there as well, but the League mandates teams dress a certain number of players. The Devils made Marian Gaborik and Brad Richard disappear as well. While on the other side, someone clearly blew a defensive assignment on Ilya Kovalchuck's goal, who was left all alone in the left circle to fire upon Henrik. If I wore a Blueshirt for a living, I'd be expecting one of the hardest practices ever tomorrow.
The Rangers lost the face-off battle because the Stripes kept kicking out Blueshirts. And so the Rangers were repeatedly forced to go with their second face-off man. But the fact is, New Jersey is winning even strength play by a wide margin right now. They have been matriculating the puck much more quickly than the Rangers have. The Blueshirts are stick-handling in an most unnecessary manner, instead of just putting shots on net. They hold, and allow the Devils to get position. On the other side, the Devils receive passes and move the puck very quickly.
What we have now, is a series. The teams will convene again for Game Three at The Rock in Newark this Saturday.