A blog focusing on the New York Rangers and all things hockey (also Yankees and Giants) with a New York attitude from a fan of 40 years whose greatest highlight came when Mark Messier lifting the Stanley Cup on June 14, 1994
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Maybe the story in game one of the Eastern Conference finals was not the Rangers overcoming their fatigue but the Devils being slowed by rust after having six days off.
The Devils sure looked to have quicker legs Wednesday and took control late in their second period with an aggressive forecheck that the Rangers simply did not see in their earlier series against Ottawa and Washington.
New Jersey rallied for a 3-2 victory to even the series at a win apiece after erasing a 2-1 deficit. For the third straight time, the Rangers were unable to take a 2-0 series lead after winning the opener.
Against Washington, they alternated wins and losses for seven games, and now the New Jersey series has started out the same way.
You could see the Devils begin to take over the game late in the second. The Rangers looked tired and seemed to be hanging on, desperately trying to get to the end of the period.
Alas, they didn't make it as New Jersey's pulled even on Ryan Carter's goal at 18:09. The 1:51 might have been the difference in the game.
Had the Rangers gotten to the end of the period still ahead, they might have been able to regroup and protect the lead with a dominant third period as they did in the two previous games.
But the Devils had all the momentum now and continued to dominate early in the third, keeping the puck in the Rangers' end until David Clarkson broke the tie at 2:31.
From a pure entertainment standout, this game was more fun to watch than any in the previous series. But the way the Devils took over with their forecheck may not bode well for the Rangers, who seemed to get worn down, for the remainder of the series.
Having played the 14 games in the two previous series still may take a toll, despite what John Tortorella says. And once again, a lack of offense bit the Rangers.
Both their goals were on the power play and New York has now gone 15 straight playoff games without scoring more than three goals.
Perhaps the best thing for the Rangers is that there are now two days off before the Devils host game three