Rangers-Devils Series Tied Through Four


The Devils stole two games on the road to even the series at two apiece. (Courtesy of Twitter)

The New York Rangers began their playoff run with two wins and two losses against the New Jersey Devils, and the Hudson River rivalry has not disappointed. After a pair of 5-1 blowouts, the Rangers got a taste of their own medicine and dropped two low-scoring games at Madison Square Garden.

In game one, the Blueshirts put on a clinic, scoring four straight goals into the third before both teams scored one apiece later in the period. Vladimir Tarasenko opened the scoring in the first, followed by Chris Kreider’s power play goal. In the next period, Lindgren scored a top-shelf goal from a difficult angle, and in the final frame, Kreider scored his second power play goal of the night. Tarasenko’s tally and Patrick Kane’s assist in the game demonstrated the effectiveness of the two major deadline acquisitions. The highlight of the night was Adam Fox’s four assists, which is tied for the most points in a Rangers’ playoff game. The game one win at the Devils’ home arena made a strong statement and set the Rangers up for success throughout the series.

It was déjà vu in game two, with the same 5-1 score and two more of Kreider’s signature power play goals. The Devils opened the scoring this time, but the Rangers went on to score five straight goals in the second and third periods. The newest Rangers continued their dominance as Tarasenko scored the opening goal and Kane put up three points, including a beautiful goal and two assists on Kreider’s goals. Fox added another two assists in the game, putting him at six points through the first three games.

The series moved back across the Hudson for game three, but the Rangers couldn’t make the home fans happy after losing in the extra period. After the Rangers chased Devils’ starter Vitek Vanecek out of the lineup, their new goalie Akira Schmid rose to the occasion. Kreider added yet another goal for the Blueshirts in the second, but Jack Hughes of the Devils responded later in the period to tie the game at one. After no scoring in the third, Dougie Hamilton scored the game winner for the Devils halfway into the extra frame. It was a bad game overall for the Rangers, with a total of 19 giveaways after only recording nine in the first two games combined.

Game four was more of the same, as the Rangers couldn’t solve Schmid once again. Kane and Kreider added to their point totals with assists on Vincent Trocheck’s goal, which proved to be the Rangers’ only offense in the 3-1 loss. Devils’ defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler tallied the winning goal for his team, and Ondrej Palat added another goal on the empty net in the final minute of play. The giveaways hurt the team once again, as their 15 giveaways make it 34 in the last two games at home.

Jonas Siegenthaler notched a goal and an assist in the Devil’s Game 4 win. (Courtesy of Twitter)

The Blueshirts’ success in the first two games can be safely credited to Igor Shesterkin’s dominance. Through three games, the netminder recorded 76 saves with a 0.950 save percentage, and only allowed a total of four goals through 10 periods of play. He looked shaky in game four with only 20 saves on 22 shots, but he kept his save percentage above 0.900. The defense in front of Shesterkin has improved from the regular season, but still needs a bit of polishing in order to be truly competitive for these playoff games.

The Rangers look to bounce back in the newly tied series and play game five back in New Jersey on Thursday night. Gaining momentum for the final games is vital, and they’ll have to use their playoff experience to get the best of this young New Jersey team.