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Devils hope to even series in Game 4

by Mike G. Morreale
(Rangers lead series, 2-1)

Big Story: In addition to the battles on the ice, both coaches have gotten into a verbal spat over illegal hits and picks. Following his team's 3-0 loss to the Rangers in Game 3 on Saturday afternoon, Devils coach Pete DeBoer referred to the Rangers' Brandon Prust as a "headhunter" when asked his opinion of Prust' elbow to the back of the head of defenseman Anton Volchenkov.

On Sunday, Rangers coach John Tortorella not only defended Prust, but accused the Devils of embellishing calls and setting illegal picks while on their power play. When told of Tortorella's rant, DeBoer responded, "comical." Prust received a one-game suspension Sunday night and will be unavailable for Game 4.
Meanwhile, on the ice, Henrik Lundqvist was sensational in Game 3, turning back 36 shots. The Devils attempted 65 shots, 19 of which were blocked, while the Rangers attempted 32. Dan Girardi, Chris Kreider and Ryan Callahan connected for the Rangers in the third period.
Team Scope:
Rangers:  The Rangers will be without Prust, who was suspended one game by the NHL's Department of Player Safety for elbowing Volchenkov in the head 2:32 into the second period of Game 3. Prust, who wasn't penalized on the play, has one assist and 27 penalty minutes in 17 games this postseason. He landed an elbow to the back of Volchenkov's helmet while the Russian defenseman was carrying the puck along the boards in the Devils left-wing corner. Prust has been part of the team's checking line with Mike Rupp and Brian Boyle.
"There was no intent," Prust said. "I was just trying to get in a check before I was at the end of a shift. It's just kind of a reaction when you're off-balance and your arms go up. I didn't want to do a face-plant into the boards."
Devils:  It isn't often Devils captain Zach Parise will leave the locker room following a practice or game without first speaking with the media. But after Saturday's loss to the Rangers, Parise did just that. He explained on Sunday why he made the decision following the team's skate at AmeriHealth Pavilion saying, "I probably would have said some things I would have regretted. I was just upset about how the game went."
DeBoer will insert Jacob Josefson, who hasn't played since fracturing his left wrist against the Islanders on April 3, back into the lineup for Game 4. At the team's morning skate in Sunday, Josefson was between Alexei Ponikarovsky and David Clarkson. Adam Henrique was centered the second line with Patrik Elias and Ilya Kovalchuk. The top line had Travis Zajac with left wing Zach Parise and right wing Dainius Zubrus. Petr Sykora will likely be a healthy scratch for the Devils on Monday.
Who's Hot: Defenseman Girardi scored a power-play goal, was credited with three hits and posted a plus-2 rating in 27:23 of ice time in Game 3. He is currently riding a three-game point streak (two goals, two assists), and has tallied seven points (two goals, five assists) in the last eight games.
Injury Report: The Rangers' Brandon Dubinsky (lower body) skated without a non-contact jersey at the team's optional skate on Sunday and is day-to-day. Mats Zuccarello (broken wrist) remain out. … New Jersey defenseman Henrik Tallinder (leg) is skating and is day-to-day.
Stat Pack: Lundqvist became the first Rangers goaltender to post multiple shutouts in a single playoff series since Mike Richter registered two shutouts against New Jersey during the 1997 Conference Semifinals. Saturday's playoff goose egg, his second against the Devils this series, was the sixth of his career, moving him past Ed Giacomin and John Ross Roach into third on the Rangers' all-time list. He's now tied for third on the Rangers' single season shutouts list.
Puck Drop: The Rangers power play is 4-for-10 (40 percent) in the series, and 13-for-67 (19.4 percent) overall in the playoffs. The penalty kill is 11-of-12 (91.7 percent) in the series against the Devils, improving to 5-2 in games when outscoring the opponent on special teams in the playoffs.
"I think specialty teams have been the different in this series," Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk said. "They score on their power play and we don't, so we have to work on that."

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