Devils/Rangers: Will Game 4 Drama Carry Into Game 5?
Added by Michael DiGiacomo on May 23, 2012.
Ryan McDonagh (R) and Adam Henrique (L) got the extra curricular activity started early in Game 4.
Hate is such a strong word, but it’s appropriate.
It’s pretty clear the New Jersey Devils and the New York Rangers will not be going to dinner and movie together on any off days. While relatively quiet games took place between these two teams over the 2011-2012 regular season, Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals changed everything.
The most significant regular season scrum took place between Devils’ David Clarkson and Rangers’ Brandon Dubinsky. The two met along the corner boards with a leaping elbow by Clarkson. That was quite an event, but Game 4 really delivered some dirt.
It seemed like the Rangers decided if we can’t beat them, we’ll try to beat the mustard out of them. As the game unfolded, the gloves came off. The first major altercation of the evening came when Ryan McDonagh gave Adam Henrique a nice cross check to the back. We have a cause, let’s review the effect. Henrique is not known for fighting, but happily stood up for himself midway through the first period as both men tried to duke it out, but wound up on the ice for a brief wrestling match.
So the two youngest go at it on their respected teams and, later into the second period, Derek Stepan and Travis Zajac were battling up and down the ice. Zajac clearly got the better of Stephan mentally. Stephan took a swing at Zajac from behind as the helmetless Zajac calmly played on and Stephan went to the box for what was called a high sticking minor.
So, as if that wasn’t entertaining enough, some of the usual characters came out to play and some not so usual characters decided to mix it up. While Ryan Callahan can get pretty feisty on the ice, I don’t think he realizes how tough of an opponent Ilya Kovalchuk could be. I’m sure, any day of the week, Callahan can probably lay a better hit on a player than Kovi could, but Kovi can stand up and fight. This would be a great time to break and reference the YouTube video of Kovalchuk vs. Brayden Schenn. They both went at it the entire game.
While Callahan played instigator, Kovalchuk decided to go spear fishing on Callahan’s precious cargo. That emotion carried over to the penalty box where both players had a shouting match for another solid 30 seconds.
Every 4th of July you’ll ever celebrate will have a nice display of fireworks. Nothing better than the grand finale. At 6:18 of the 3rd period, Mike Rupp lowered the hammer on Devils defenseman Peter Harrold. Rupp clearly had no intention to play the puck. Watching from the center ring, you could see the hit being lined up from miles away. So Harrold met Rupp, penalty was called, and to top it all off, Rupp sucker punches Martin Brodeur on the way to the penalty box.
While Brodeur claims he said nothing to Rupp, I’ve got to believe some comment was made to instigate the punch. Regardless of great acting or not, Marty drew a penalty and game misconduct. Rupp took the bait. As if the punch heard round the world wasn’t enough, during all that on ice chaos, the benches erupted.
We had our Round 3 Peter Laviolette and Dan Bylsma. No one stood on the boards but only three feet separated an angry Peter Deboer and John Tortorella. I don’t believe they were discussing lunch plans for Tuesday. Every single person is in this series emotionally.
Tonight should make for some entertaining hockey. I have no doubt the Devils will stick to their game plan. Aggressive fore-checking, offensive zone pressure, and help from their 3rd and 4th lines which have been instrumental this post season. It’s going to take the same discipline it took to beat the Flyers as it will to beat the Rangers.
The Devils have to make sure they don’t fall into the trap and give the Rangers any breathing room for Game 5. If the Devils can mirror their Game 4 efforts and cause the Rangers to play frustrated, you might see the #1 seed implode and lose all hope at a dream season.