Big Story: The Rangers are looking to secure their first two-game lead in a series during these playoffs. In the first two rounds, the Rangers won Game 1 but lost Game 2 and eventually had to go to seven games before winning. Meanwhile, the Devils dropped Game 1 against the Philadelphia Flyers last round before winning four straight to reach the conference finals.
Devils: Being down in a series is nothing to the Devils. Not only did they rally back against the Flyers, they were 2-1 and 3-2 in the first round against the Florida Panthers. Do the top-seeded Rangers present a new challenge for the Devils?
"I don't think so. You're down one game and they have home-ice advantage," coach Peter DeBoer said. "We've been in this spot before. We know we can play better. And credit to them. They got the job done, found a way to get a win. Now it's on us to respond the right way."
Despite the 3-0 loss in Game 1, the Devils were a bounce or two away during the second period from scoring a couple of goals. The Rangers opened the flood gates early in the third period, but the Devils didn't get blanked for a lack of chances. Henrik Lundqvist made 21 saves while the Rangers blocked 26 shots and forced the Devils to miss the net 15 times.
"I thought we played good," goaltender Martin Brodeur. "We had our chances as far as getting puck control in their zone. We just couldn't get the puck through. They blocked a lot of shots. That's the way they like to play, and that's kind of the way they've been successful so far all year in the playoffs. We have to find a way to break through that."
Rangers: They appeared to be on the ropes during the first two periods of Game 1 and perhaps even a little tired. But Dan Girardi broke a scoreless tie 53 seconds into the third period, Chris Kreider added a power-play goal later and Artem Anisimov scored into an empty-net to seal it.
The Rangers tired? After playing 14 games over the first two rounds? Not even close.
"I don't know where you guys get all this stuff being tired," coach John Tortorella said. "If we're tired this time of the year, there's something the matter. 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."
Who's Hot: Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto has a goal and three assists in his last four games.
Stat Pack: A team that holds a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven series has won 86 percent of the time. A team that grabs that edge in conference finals has won 91 percent of the time.
Puck Drop: "He's an MVP candidate for a reason. If he sees it, he's going to stop it. So we've got to make it a little harder for him." --Devils captain Zach Parise, on Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist