Rangers set to counter Devils' success in Game 3
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — For one game, at least, in the Eastern Conference finals, the New Jersey Devils found a way to beat Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers.
After losing out in the Rangers' block party in Game 1, the Devils found a solution in Game 2. They forechecked, moved the puck, didn't give the New York defense time to set up, shot quickly and got traffic in front of the Rangers' goaltender.
It wasn't anything novel. It was Hockey 101, and a better effort than in the opener of the best-of-7 series.
Now it's the Rangers' turn to respond as the series shifts to New Jersey for Game 3 at the Prudential Center on Saturday.
"We know the Rangers are going to push," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "We know they're going to come out and play a great hockey game tomorrow. It's on us to do the same thing. So I expect it to be the best game of the series tomorrow from both ends."
Both teams returned to the ice on Friday and, of course, continued to tweak their games.
"I think both teams," DeBoer said, "are going to take their game to another level."
At the least, the Devils need to prevent the Rangers from blocking shots again. New York blocked 26 in its 3-0 win in Game 1, but New Jersey did a much better job in getting rubber at Lundqvist in evening the series on Wednesday.
"They do a great job of blocking shots, but the reality of it is that we have to get two or three guys in front and then somehow get the puck through," said Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador, who had assists on New Jersey's final two goals, including the primary one on Ryan Carter's tying goal late in the second period Wednesday.
"They do it more than anyone. We have to maintain some sort of presence in front of the net. It doesn't have to be a great shot, but it has to get there. I tried to get it to the side of the goal and Carter got to it. If we don't try, then nothing goes in. We have to get the pucks to the net to create second shots."
Devils center Travis Zajac, who was reunited with Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk as his wings in Game 2, said New Jersey was able to apply more pressure the second time around.
"The focus will continue to be to get as many pucks to the net as possible," he said. "If we move the puck quickly, we don't give them a chance to set up, so that helps. I think we also won battles earlier in the shift to get to the point where they couldn't block shots."
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