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Rangers vs Devils - 2012 Stanley Cup Conference Finals

Eighteen years later, no Game 6 guarantees coming

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

"No disrespect to history, but we're worried about ourselves. We want to create our own story and that's what we're here to do." -- Rangers' Brad Richards

Mark Messier is retired. There will be no pre-game guarantees this year.

"We haven't really thought about it," Rangers center Brad Richards said Thursday at Madison Square Garden after what may be the Rangers' last full team workout of the season unless they win Game 6 at Prudential Center on Friday.

Ah, but 18 years ago Thursday, Messier issued the guarantee heard round the hockey world when he boldly predicted that the Rangers would storm into the Meadowlands and stave off elimination by winning Game 6 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals.

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Late push from DeBoer one reason Devils near Final

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The light went off in Devils coach Peter DeBoer's head right around mid-March. It was then that he realized his team was championship-worthy.

"With about 10 games left we had been spinning our wheels, hadn't been playing well, and we challenged the team to really get on a roll heading into the playoffs," DeBoer said during a media conference call Thursday. "History had shown that it was important that teams were playing well heading into the playoffs."

The Devils responded by winning six games in a row to close the regular season.

"That was the first signal to me that the team was engaged and wanted to do something special," DeBoer said. "Having said that, the Florida series was everything we can handle, plus some. I don't think anyone that watched us there would have predicted us to be here."

"Here" is one win away from the Stanley Cup Final, with Game 6 against the Rangers scheduled for Friday at Prudential Center (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

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Zidlicky asked for trade figuring Devils as good fit

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- As he was trying to iron out his future back in early February, Marek Zidlicky called his old friend Patrik Elias to get his advice and poll his opinion about how he would fit on the New Jersey Devils and with coach Peter DeBoer. He asked Elias if he could be successful in the style that the Devils play, and what their chances were of having success both this season and next.

It was a conversation Zidlicky felt he had to have with Elias, his friend from back home in the Czech Republic. However, Zidlicky was also asking questions that he already knew the answers to.

"I knew what I was coming to before I came, and it has not surprised me," Zidlicky told NHL.com prior to Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals. "That's why I picked this team and I believe in this team."

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Brodeur survives shaky performance in Game 5

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- It certainly wasn't one of the more memorable playoff performances put forth by New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur.

But, in the end, the goalie admitted with a smile, "we got a win."

Martin Brodeur
Goalie - NJD
RECORD: 11-5-1
GAA: 2.04 | SVP: 0.921
It was Brodeur's stickhandling error just 17 seconds into the third period that enabled the New York Rangers to pull into a 3-3 tie in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final at Madison Square Garden. The goal not only ignited the hometown faithful into a tizzy, but the chants of "Marty, Marty" also echoed throughout the arena.

"Yes, that was great [when the chants began]," Brodeur said. "That's as loud as they've been. If I come back here for Game 7, I hope they would do better."

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Rangers pay price for another slow start

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- The Rangers focus was on their start, their first five minutes in Game 5.

It was the topic du jour after practice Tuesday; the need to be better at the beginning of the game against the New Jersey Devils; the need to control the puck, keep possession -- and, if at all possible, score a goal.

Less than five minutes into the game Wednesday night they were down 2-0. Before 10 minutes elapsed it was 3-0.

What happened?

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Stephen Gionta making a name for himself

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Stephen Gionta
Right Wing - NJD
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 3 | PTS: 6
SOG: 16 | +/-: 5
NEW YORK -- New Jersey Devils forward Stephen Gionta was a relative unknown entering the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Heck, the 28-year-old native of Rochester, N.Y., had only 13 regular-season NHL games under his belt.

The one thing we did know was that he was the little brother of current Montreal Canadiens captain Brian Gionta, who spent seven seasons as a member of the Devils and even won a Stanley Cup with New Jersey in 2003.

Don't look now, but little brother is slowly making a name for himself.

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Fourth line plays huge role in Devils' win

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- An NHL team's fourth line is usually an afterthought, filled with journeymen or scrappers who are hanging onto their careers much in the same way a person would cling to a gym rope that was covered in oil.

Ryan Carter
Center - NJD
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 2 | PTS: 5
SOG: 13 | +/-: 5
That's not the case with the fourth line of the New Jersey Devils, which once again came up big during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Ryan Carter scored his third goal of the playoffs and second game-winner with 4:23 left in regulation to help give the Devils a 5-3 win at Madison Square Garden in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final and 3--2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Zach Parise, the Devils' captain and a five-time 30-goal scorer, put it bluntly when asked where his team would be without the contributions from Carter, Stephen Gionta and Steve Bernier.

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Rangers confident they'll force Game 7

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- Should they have hope, or should they be crushed?

That's the question -- or questions -- facing the New York Rangers after their 5-3 loss in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.

After failing again to get the start that they were hoping for, a start that doomed them in the end, the Rangers played exactly the way they wanted to play against the Devils for the better part of 50 minutes.

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Rangers' start, Devils' aggression keys to Game 5

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- The verbal sparring, gamesmanship, animosity and on-ice jabs aside, the Devils and Rangers are locked in a chess match that continues Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers want to have a better start in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS). The Devils know that, and they want to counter by staying as aggressive early in games as they have been all series.

The Devils want to use their forward depth to their advantage to take a 3-2 lead in the series. The Rangers know that, and they want to counter by jumping on New Jersey early with a goal, or at least dominate in puck possession.

New Jersey was the better team in Game 4. Considering the Devils peppered Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist with 36 shots on goal in Game 3 and won Game 2, you could make the argument that they have been the better team since the Rangers broke out with three goals in the third period of Game 1.

That doesn't matter now. The series is tied, and each team knows what it has to do to pull within one win of a berth in the Stanley Cup Final.

Here are three keys for each team in order to win Game 5:

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Offense or not, Lundqvist only worries about his play

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist is not about to go crazy because of his teammates' inability to stake him to an early lead. You won't find him screaming or throwing things in the dressing room.

That's not his style, or what he's about.

"Honestly, it's not a concern for me at all how many goals we score," Lundqvist said after a brisk practice Tuesday at Madison Square Garden. "I just try to focus on my game."

His game has been good enough to get the Rangers within two wins of the Stanley Cup Final and six wins from their first championship in 18 years. However, by now Lundqvist also knows he will have to be as close to perfect as he can be in order for the Rangers to bring the Stanley Cup to New York for just the second time since 1940.

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Quote of the Day

I just think about how much it hurts. The feelings aren't going to go away, probably never. It's just something that sticks with you for a long time.

— San Jose forward Logan Couture to The Canadian Press on the Sharks' first-round loss to the Kings after taking a 3-0 series lead