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Rangers vs Devils - 2012 Stanley Cup Conference Finals

Rangers take third shot this spring at 2-0 series lead

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Ruslan Fedotenko sat at his locker after the New York Rangers' optional practice, drinking from a bottle of water as he was asked what it meant for the team to grab a 2-0 lead in a series for once.

During the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Rangers won Game 1 only to lose Game 2. They grabbed a 1-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals by beating the New Jersey Devils 3-0 on Monday night, so it was a hot topic Tuesday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.

Fedotenko, without breaking his lips from the bottle, showed what it meant to himself to grab a 2-0 lead on the Devils with a win in Game 2 on Wednesday night by holding up his left hand and making a circle with his thumb and pointer finger.


Rallying from series deficits has suited Devils fine

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

"You're down one game and they have home ice, and we've been in this spot before and we know we can play better. A credit to them, they got the job done and found a way to win, but it was a closer game than the score indicated. Now it's on us to respond the right way." -- Devils coach Peter DeBoer

NEWARK, N.J. -- So the New Jersey Devils find themselves down in a playoff series. What else is new?

For the third straight time this spring, the Devils will be forced to rally from behind in a playoff matchup in order to earn the right to advance to their first Stanley Cup Final since 2003. A 3-0 loss to the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Monday assured that scenario.

"I think we still feel pretty good about the way we played for 40 minutes and we know that game could have gone either way," Devils captain Zach Parise said. "We just didn't play well enough for a long enough period of time, and that was a big difference, but we're comfortable with the way we played.

Rangers' ability to survive forecheck key to victory

Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

NEW YORK -- The New Jersey Devils forged their way into the Eastern Conference Finals on the back of their relentless forecheck.

The ability to harass the puck handler in his own zone and force turnovers led to the stunning five-game ouster of the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round. The forecheck got more and more effective as that series moved along; the cumulative mental and physical scars it inflicted eventually paying huge dividends.

The Devils' plan in this series is to feed a steady diet of that same forecheck to the top-seeded Rangers, believing they can force the more mobile defenders on New York to make the same mistakes Philadelphia's players made.

Tortorella: 'We're not a tired hockey club'

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Did John Tortorella expect the Rangers to be tired after concluding their second straight seven-game series two nights ago?

"I don't know where you guys get all this stuff being tired. If we're tired this time of the year, there's something the matter," Tortorella said. "We still have a month to play. You might as well not even ask me questions about being tired. We're not a tired hockey club. We are ready to play."

Kreider bounces back for Rangers -- again

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Players of all ages and experience deal with peaks and valleys during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But the rise and fall and rise again of Rangers rookie Chris Kreider over the past month is nothing short of remarkable.

Chris Kreider
Left Wing - NYR
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 2 | PTS: 5
SOG: 18 | +/-: -2
Kreider, who joined the Rangers straight from Boston College just before the postseason, found himself glued to the bench during first round before scoring the winning goal in an elimination Game 6 and another in the second round against the Capitals. But things turned sour for Kreider in Game 4 against Washington, when his turnover led directly to an Alex Ovechkin goal and eventually a Rangers' loss.

After scoring his third goal of the postseason and adding an assist Monday night in the Rangers' 3-0 win against the New Jersey Devils in Game 1 of the conference finals, perhaps Kreider is back atop the mountain once again.

Devils know they have to stay focused

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- The New Jersey Devils knew all along that opposing bodies would be in their crosshairs when winding up for shots on New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

They weren't disappointed in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Monday at Madison Square Garden.

Martin Brodeur
Goalie - NJD
RECORD: 8-4-1
GAA: 2.05 | SVP: 0.921
"From my view, I saw him [Lundqvist] for about 10 minutes of the game because there were so many Ranger players in front of him," Devils goalie Martin Brodeur said. "But he played pretty well."

Lundqvist notched the fifth playoff shutout of his career and second this season on 21 saves in a 3-0 victory over the Devils to open a 1-0 lead in this best-of-seven series that resumes Wednesday in Manhattan. Additionally, he was also aided by 26 blocked shots from a team that has averaged 19.5 blocks per game in the playoffs.

"It wasn't anything we weren't prepared for, we knew it was coming," Devils captain Zach Parise said. "We just have to do a better job of getting the point shots through and getting it past their first guy."

Eighteen years later, rivalry reignites in Eastern finals

Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

For older hockey fans in the metropolitan New York area, it seems like 18 minutes, not 18 long years, since the Devils and Rangers saw their border battle blossom into one of the elite rivalries in the League.

And it was an unforgettable Eastern Conference Finals in the spring of 1994 that pushed the rivalry from its regional stage to a national stage. Now, almost 18 years to the day, the rivalry is re-energized on the same stage.

Will it be as good as that epochal seven-game series staged almost two decades ago? That, of course, remains to be seen during the course of the next two weeks, but it would take some doing. Fortunately, the players -- and personalities -- are in place for a redux.

This is a series filled with both big-name stars and gritty role players that always find a way to step to the fore when healthy doses of fear, loathing and adrenaline are thrown together in such a cauldron.

Day-by-day approach helped Salvador in recovery

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador prefers the glass half-full.

How else can you explain his determined ascent up the team's defensive depth chart in 2011-12 after sitting out an entire 82-game season with an inner-ear concussion?

"My approach to a lot of things is control what you can and don't worry about what you can't. I try to keep a lot of those thoughts out where you look forward six or seven months and try to plan those things … I just tried to stay away from that." -- Bryce Salvador

"Every season is different in kind of what you go through and I think not playing was more of going through the experience of not playing and everyone else still playing," Salvador told NHL.com. "You kind of get a glimpse of what life is like without hockey; a different perspective on the game."

What Salvador learned was that not being able to contribute was a pretty tough pill to swallow. But he realized, eventually he would get that opportunity again despite the fact his 2010-11 campaign lasted just three preseason games after suffering a head injury against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sept. 28, 2010 that landed him on long-term injured reserve.

"My approach to a lot of things is control what you can and don't worry about what you can't," he said. "I try to keep a lot of those thoughts out where you look forward six or seven months and try to plan those things … I just tried to stay away from that.

Young Rangers quickly gaining experience

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

The New York Rangers are the fourth-youngest team in the NHL and youngest team left in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but winning two consecutive seven-game series has them growing up very quickly.

Brad Richards is one of the few Rangers with an extensive resume of postseason success and has been a beacon of stability in his first season with New York. He was just 24 years old when he won a Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004, which is about two years younger than the average of age of this season's Rangers team.

Richards said Sunday that getting to the Eastern Conference Finals against the New Jersey Devils is part of a process that can turn a wide-eyed team into a more-grizzled group.

Brodeur talks about Lundqvist ahead of Game 1

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur says he always enjoys the playoff battles against the New York Rangers.

On Monday, he'll step between the pipes in his fifth playoff series against Broadway Blueshirts. It will also mark his third matchup against Henrik Lundqvist, who'll be manning the cage at the other end in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Madison Square Garden.

Brodeur spoke to the media following New Jersey's practice Sunday about the rivalry and facing Lundqvist. Brodeur is just 1-3 against the Rangers in the playoffs.

"I think it's a big rivalry," Brodeur said. "They're the best team in the Eastern Conference and they proved it all year. They got themselves the No. 1 spot, they used it for two Game 7s to be able to stay alive in the playoffs, and they're going to use it to have home ice advantage right from the get-go on us. So for us, we have to do what we've been doing, just put our head down and listen to our coach and just play well.

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