Devils Sticks Blanked As Rangers Win 2-0
The New Jersey Devils faltered Saturday night against the New York Rangers, falling at home 2-0 to their cross-river rivals. Saturday’s loss was a major setback, as they have now lost four out of their last five and have fallen nine points behind the Rangers for the last playoff spot in the NHL’s Metropolitan Division, and six points behind Detroit for the last Wild Card playoff spot.
The Rangers’ defense was suffocating as the Devils’ skaters only managed to get off five shots in the first period and six in the second. Numbers like that are just unacceptable if you’re trying to score against one of the NHL’s tougher goalies in Henrik Lundqvist. Though the Devils almost equaled the shots in the first two by taking 10 shots in the third period, it still wasn’t enough to beat Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers as the Devils got shutout for the ninth time this season.
The Devils left this game with a sour taste in their mouths because they not only lost a chance to get back some important points in the standings, but wasted Martin Brodeur’s terrific effort of stopping 25 of 26 shots (the 27th shot and second goal for the Rangers came on an empty net). The goalie kept the Devils in the game from the start until the end; the only goal the Rangers scored on Brodeur was slightly questionable, as Chris Kreider could have been called for goalie interference for slightly bumping into Brodeur. However, the refs didn’t blow the whistle, so while Brodeur was getting up and looking around for the puck Rick Nash snapped it in behind him. Brodeur was awarded the second star of the game for his efforts despite the tough loss.
This loss leaves the Devils in a precarious position. They need points and still have games at home, but the window is closing quickly on them. The effort from the offense will have to be better going forward, as single digit shots in one, let alone two periods, just isn’t enough to really challenge a goalie or defense. If the Devils want to up their output, they are going to have to start shooting from all over, getting the puck in deep, and getting their power play numbers up. Only one power play against the Rangers didn’t allow the Devils enough of a chance to pressure Lundqvist’s net, making it a rather easy night for the Rangers’ netminder.
The Devils play again Sunday night against the Maple Leafs, and then get a break until Thursday. The time in between games can be very helpful to this Devils team, as it not only allows them to rest up and get healthy, but lets the dust settle on the rest of the NHL. By Thursday, the playoff picture will be more in focus, and the Devils will see if rivals have pulled away from them, or if the door is still open for them to enter into the playoffs. Only time will tell, but there isn’t a lot of it left.