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Rangers vs Devils - 2012 Stanley Cup Conference Finals

Rangers, Devils preach focus moving forward

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Considering the bubbling cauldron of venom that is the rivalry between the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils, it's almost surprising that it took four games for it spill over onto the ice during the Eastern Conference Finals.

It started during Game 4 with Devils rookie Adam Henrique and Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh, who had a combined one fight during the regular season, dropping the gloves. Later, Rangers captain Ryan Callahan and Devils sniper Ilya Kovalchuk exchanged words and sticks after a whistle. It came to a full boil with the Devils leading 3-0 in the third period when the Rangers' Mike Rupp hit goaltender Martin Brodeur in the upper chest and jaw with a gloved punch.

With the best-of-seven series deadlocked at 2-2 and Game 5 set for Wednesday at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS), both teams agreed they need to leave the overwhelming emotions at the door when they take the ice in their biggest games of the season.

"I don't feel like it's anything I need to let go or the team needs to let go," Rupp said. "We're focused on a three-game series and we have two at home, so we're confident in that and we faced that the first two rounds. We're going to go about it the same way."

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Players appreciate DeBoer's emotion behind bench

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Peter DeBoer believes there's just one difference between those rival teams he faced as a coach in the Ontario Hockey League with the Kitchener Rangers to now as the head man working the bench for the New Jersey Devils.

"The type of emotion that's involved is the same, but the only difference is you have 10 million people here [watching]," DeBoer said during a media conference call on Tuesday afternoon.

DeBoer and several players took the time to speak with the media during an off-day after an emotional 4-1 victory in Game 4 against the New York Rangers on Monday at Prudential Center. The triumph enabled the Devils to even the best-of-seven, 2-2, with Game 5 slated Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.

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Parise's play does the talking in three-point night

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Let's end the suspense. Zach Parise is, indeed, the silent but deadly type.

Zach Parise
Left Wing - NJD
GOALS: 6 | ASST: 6 | PTS: 12
SOG: 65 | +/-: -2
For fear of saying something he'd regret, the Devils' captain uncharacteristically opted to skip his usual talk with the media following his team's 3-0 setback to the New York Rangers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final on Saturday at Prudential Center. It created quite a stir with reporters, but not with any of his teammates. They all knew he would come back even stronger.

In Game 4 on Monday, Parise let his play do the talking with a pair of goals and one assist to lead the Devils to a 4-1 victory. The victory enabled the Devils to even the best-of-seven series, 2-2.

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Devils had Game 4 almost from the get-go

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- The sequence started with an energy shift by the Devils' third line roughly four and a half minutes into Game 4. It didn't stop until New Jersey had a commanding 2-0 lead with just over eight minutes to play in the first.

Travis Zajac
Center - NJD
GOALS: 6 | ASST: 5 | PTS: 11
SOG: 36 | +/-: -1
"We were just on the puck," Devils center Travis Zajac said after the Devils' 4-1 win Monday at Prudential Center evened the Eastern Conference Finals at 2-2 heading into Game 5 Wednesday. "We worked as a five-man unit up the ice and we made it tough for them to get it out of the zone. We had lines rolling, had the forecheck going, guys hunting pucks down."

From the moment Jacob Josefson, Alexei Ponikarovsky and David Clarkson stepped on the ice for their second shift of the game until Zajac smashed a one-timer into the net behind Henrik Lundqvist at the 11:59 mark, the Devils never stopped pressuring the Rangers with an energetic forecheck that created momentum that they finally were able to capitalize on.

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Slow start dooms Rangers in 4-1 loss

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- For the fourth time in four games during the Eastern Conference Final, the New York Rangers were overwhelmed by the New Jersey Devils during the first period.

For the second time in the series, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist wasn't there to bail out his teammates after a slow start.

Bryce Salvador and Travis Zajac scored during the first 12 minutes of Game 4 and the Devils rolled to a 4-1 victory Monday night to even the best-of-seven series at 2-2. The shots on goal after the first 20 minutes were 12-7, but four shots during a Rangers' power play over the final 1:40 of the period masked the dominance displayed by the Devils.

In Games 1 and 3, Lundqvist played magnificently over the first two periods to allow his team time to break through in the third period. In Game 2, the Devils got to Lundqvist for two goals over the first two periods before scoring the winner early in the third period. In Game 4, the onslaught resulted in two quick goals from which the Rangers never recovered.

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Frustration boils over for Rangers in Game 4

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- For the first time during the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the New York Rangers became unraveled, and no one embodied the frustration reaching a boiling point the way Mike Rupp did during the third period of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final on Monday night at Prudential Center.

Mike Rupp
Center - NYR
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 0 | PTS: 0
SOG: 13 | +/-: 0
With the New Jersey Devils leading 3-0 in a game they would win 4-1 to even the best-of-seven series, Rupp was assessed a two-minute minor for roughing Peter Harrold. As Rupp was being escorted away by a linesman, he fired a gloved punch that hit Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur in the upper chest and rode up into his mask.

That wasn't the end of it. Steve Bernier, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound forward of the Devils, skated to the defense of Brodeur, only to be tossed to the ice by the 6-5, 243-pound Rupp like a rag doll. When the dust settled, Rupp was assessed 14 minutes in penalties, teammate Stu Bickel picked up two minutes for roughing, and the Devils' Ryan Carter picked up a 10-minute misconduct and two minutes for roughing.

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Devils need to find plan to slow Rangers' blueliners

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Devising ways to keep offensive-minded defensemen from having an impact is nothing new for the New Jersey Devils in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The team was forced to keep in check mobile blueliners Brian Campbell and Jason Garrison of the Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, and then had to defend Matt Carle and Kimmo Timonen of the Philadelphia Flyers in the conference semifinals.

Campbell and Garrison combined for two goals, eight points and 21 shots in New Jersey's seven-game series victory. Carle and Timonen produced one goal, three points and 13 shots during the Devils' five-game win.

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Callahan keeps level head despite offensive struggles

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Ryan Callahan
Right Wing - NYR
GOALS: 4 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 8
SOG: 46 | +/-: 2
NEW YORK -- A goal-starved Ryan Callahan isn't giving in to the temptation for frustration. He says he can't, or it will affect him in other areas of his game.

"It's part of it," Callahan said following the Rangers' morning skate Monday at Madison Square Garden in advance of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals. "You're going to go through stretches, and obviously this time of year you don't want to be going through that, but I think those are the times that you have to make sure that on the other side of the puck you're doing everything you can to be at your best. That's how you break it."

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Rangers' defense carrying the offensive load

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

New York Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi didn't just sit back and wait for the puck to come to him after Brad Richards won an offensive-zone faceoff in the third period of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Instead, Girardi skated toward the puck and fired a shot from the right circle that beat Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur to the stick side for his second game-winning goal of the series.

Girardi is the epitome of the Rangers' blue line, a hard-working grinder who never has met a shot he didn't want to block. But if things continue like this during the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Rangers' defensemen are going to be more known for creating offense instead of preventing it.

If this outbreak of offense seems mystifying, take solace in the fact Girardi has a hard time explaining it, too.

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Devils' Parise not frustrated by 2-1 deficit

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Zach Parise has been accommodating to the media after wins and losses since long before being named captain of the New Jersey Devils prior to this season. So, when Parise doesn't come out to address the press, as was the case following Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday, it becomes a story based solely on the shock value of it.

Parise, though, said after practice Sunday that he didn't talk following the Devils 3-0 loss to the Rangers because, "I probably would have said some things I would have regretted. I was just upset about how the game went."

He further defended being absent following Game 3 by saying, "I feel like I've done a pretty good job of making myself available for almost 100 games this year that if I took one night off, it would be OK."

His teammates and coach stand behind him.

"I've done it. Scott Stevens has done it. Mario Lemieux has done it," Devils goalie Martin Brodeur said. "It's one thing that you can't judge somebody or overthink certain things that happen. He had his reasons. At this time of the year, emotionally and physically it's a grind, and sometimes you're not ready to show it to people. I'm all good with it. If you do what you do all the time you should have a little break once in a while. That's the bottom line."

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Quote of the Day

When somebody goes out and is there to score goals, but is also there to make some big hits, fight, do all of those things, and he has a great mustache, it was great to see him get that hit and get everybody going.

— Colin Wilson on teammate Eric Nystrom, who scored a goal in Predators' win vs. Kings
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