Devils Come Up Short: Devils 2 – Rangers 3
The Devils have been playing better as of late, but the one issue they are having that has not left them is the inability to finish scoring opportunities. That was very evident as the Devils fell to the Ranger 3-2 Tuesday night at The Rock.
A pretty wide open first period saw the score land at 2-2 at the end of it. The Rangers opened the scoring as Michael Del Zotto bunted a puck out of mid-air after Johan Hedberg (making his 13th straight start) fumbled the puck halfway up the boards. This was not the main reason for the goal but it put the Devils in a sort of panic and wound up leaving two Rangers right in front of Hedberg for the first goal. This is the 12th time in the last 14 games the Devils have given up the first goal. Giving up the first goal has been a big reason for the struggles the past month, you do not want to be chasing all of the time.
The Devils tied it up on the power play as Travis Zajac beat Henrik Lundqvist right between the legs after his initial shot was blocked in front. The Rangers then regained the lead a short time later as Carl Hagelin took a perfect bank pass off the boards and was left alone in front for a slam-dunk goal. Just 20 seconds after that, Anton Volchenkov took a shot from the point that somehow made its way through a maze of players to tie the game at 2. That made it 3 goals in 1:20, something many fans didn’t expect to see in this Devils-Rangers game. Many of the fans felt it was going to be one of “those” games – it did not turn out that way.
In the second, the Devils had their chances but Lundqvist was up to the task. He made the big saves when needed. The rebound control was not his best but the Devils just could not capitalize on those chances and it ultimately came back to bite them. Rick Nash gave the Rangers a 3-2 lead midway through the period on a 2-on-1 where he took the shot and ripped a wrister past Hedberg.
The third period saw the Rangers put 5 guys back behind the blue line and just absorb and block every shot the Devils took. The Devils did receive a power play with 7 minutes left but nothing came of it. The chances were limited and the Rangers played their game. The game ended without a furious rush and the Devils lost for the 10th time in their last 13 games.
The good news is that Martin Brodeur comes back from his back injury on Thursday as well as Andrei Loktionov. Dainius Zubrus is close to coming back as well. This team needs to get healthy, that is the biggest obstacle. The effort is there, they just need the talent.