For the second time this postseason the Devils blew a 3-0 lead. For the first time this series the Rangers dominated the play for the vast majority of the game. And yet the Devils are heading back home for Game 6 with a chance to close out the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Rangers seemed to overextend themselves in the first ten minutes of the game in their zeal to lay as many hits as possible on the Devils, which led to players being out of position on the first two goals. The most egregious example came on the game opener when Stephen Gionta had no Ranger within 10 feet of him as he tucked a rebound past Henrik Lundqvist. The onslaught continued until the 10-minute mark, when Travis Zajac found the twine on what was more or less a throwaway shot from the wing with no teammates in sight, a bad goal that Lundqvist would certainly like to have back.
Things seemed to be going their way for the rest of the game, as they tied it up early in the third on a misplayed puck by Martin Brodeur that Marian Gaborik banked in off of him as he tried to get back in net. But the Devils capitalized on a mistake by Carl Hagelin with less than five minutes to go, as he allowed Ryan Carter to beat him to the net, where he buried a centering feed to send a dagger into the hearts of the Rangers and the Madison Square Garden crowd.
Rangers' mistakes cost them dearly
Beyond the blown coverages and bad goals, the Rangers had numerous incidents that surely kept them up at night on Wednesday. Even as they clawed their way back with a goal late in the first and then one each at the beginning of the second and third periods, the Rangers were failing to convert on quality scoring chances left and right. Gaborik missed a wide open net in the first with the score still 2-0, and Ryan Callahan sent a bad angle shot off the post on a power play soon after the second goal that was a centimeter or two away from tying things up.
Focus off the goaltenders
For the first time this series, neither goalie had what could even be considered a marginal game. Lundqvist's soft goal allowed to Zajac was supplemented by poor rebound control on the first and second goals; the only one which he was helpless to do anything about was the game-winner. And Brodeur, after having a few near-misses with his puck handling earlier in the series, finally had one bite him when he couldn't recover early in the third. Had the Rangers managed to win, that's the one that he would have been re-playing in his mind.
Ironically enough, the best save of the game by either netminder came early in the third when Brad Richards shockingly fired one right at Lundqvist from the right circle in an attempt to wind the puck around the boards and out of the zone (the puck seemed to take a strange roll up his stick, explaining the gaffe). When Lundqvist kept that one out it seemed like the Rangers were destined to win, but the Devils had other ideas.
Looking ahead to Game 6
The prevailing wisdom heading into Game 5 was that, based on the way the series was going, the Rangers were the far more desperate team due to the fact that the Devils had outplayed them even in the games that New York won. But after controlling the time of possession, shots, and scoring chances for nearly three full periods, that is no longer the case. The Rangers certainly have their backs against the wall, but they have won every must-win scenario so far this season, and they now know that they can take it to the Devils when they have to.
Fan Hub Action
Michael T Carr May 16th
Another good article, Craig Lowell.
Charlie Lobosco May 1st
This is a very compelling story because Mr. Collins is a very passionate, tough, intelligent, athelete taking on some additional responsibliity to help others as…
Scott Cohen May 1st
Charlie.. very well said.. he does have guts
Scott Cohen May 1st
but it shouldn’t require guts. .like you said it’s nobody’s business but his own
Hisham Zameeth April 30th
best player ever…..
Kareem Musa Mayowa April 29th
We don’t need to be hopeless about the situation bryant his. Because even david villa situation also up to the level of his own to…
Maritess Lim April 28th
I still believe in KOBE’s power…… He is still the best…… He will make it possible no matter what……
mimi_aragon84 April 28th
I feel no pity for him. First of all, it is EAGLE, COLORADO, not Eagleton, secondly he enjoyed success and adulation from fans from 2003…
May 16th, 2013 12:13 PM
May 20th, 2013 9:09 AM
May 16th, 2013 9:45 AM
ALL TIME FAVES
April 16th, 2013 12:15 PM
April 9th, 2013 11:57 AM
March 1st, 2013 8:37 AM