BATTLE OF THE HUDSON
Series Tied 1-1
I - NYR 3; NJD 0
II - NJD 3; NYR 2
NEW YORK RANGERS
NEW JERSEY DEVILS
The Glacier Meets The Rock:
Let the chess match and series of adjustments begin. After each opening game and for the third time in these playoffs, the Rangers have lost Game Two. After Game One's loss, Peter DeBoer made adjustments, so now it's time for Coach John Tortorella to make his. He must devise a counter-punch and avoid a second straight defeat or at least win one game in Newark while the Blueshirts are still two games away from returning to the Garden.
What happened in Game Two is very easy to explain. The Devils beat the Rangers in almost every facet of the game. New Jersey won the battle of the boards, out skated, out hit, out passed, and overall out-Rangered the Rangers. And..., Martin Brodeur just happened to be great again. Most importantly and quite obviously though, the Devils outscored the Rangers. The Blueshirts gave up three goals in a game for the fifth time in these playoffs. They allowed Ottawa and Washington three goals in a game twice, and now the Devils once. In all five instances, the Rangers lost.
None of that is new to the Blueshirts. Lack of high potency scoring has menaced the Rangers all season. That's why such a premium is placed on blocking shots, and playing smartly above all else. But their Blue-collar effort has gotten them this far, and they aren't about to change now. Only problem is during these playoffs, teams have adopted the Rangers style, and have scored their goals too. This was said during the Ottawa series, as well as against the Capitals. So really, the narrative hasn't changed much. Problem is, the Capitals almost eliminated the Rangers on late game winning power play goals. It took the Rangers four overtime periods, and incredible work by Henrik Lundqvist to advance into this series. The Devils however, are beating the Rangers at even strength. And that is supposed to be when the Rangers are at their best.
Adjustments? For the Rangers, that means turning into a darker shade of Blue. Keep doing what they do, but only do it harder. The big blue glacier just needs to keep on coming. If they Rangers aren't going to be as quick as the Devils, then they have to grind New Jersey down to a slower pace.
Martin Brodeur will give up three goals if you get enough shots against him. The Rangers need to stop being so cute with the puck, and get back to putting shots on net and cleaning up the slop. Get behind Marty and look for the guy in the slot again. Additionally, the Devils are quick to either shoot or pass the puck. They spend very little time stick handling in the offensive zone. The Rangers need to be as quick to shoot, and not allow New Jersey to set their defense as they did to the Blueshirts in Game Two.
Be more disciplined on face-offs. The Rangers' man, regardless of which centerman, repeatedly got tossed by the Linesman. Consequently, the Rangers lost the overall face-off battle. So there you go. Possess the puck, get the game back in the Devils end, and shoot the puck at Martin Brodeur as often as you can. The more we shoot, the better chance he'll give us three.