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Rangers seek faster start in Game 5 vs. Devils

by Dave Lozo


(Best-of-seven series tied 2-2)


Big Story: The Rangers have been dominated in almost every facet of the game during the first periods of all four games of this series, and they will once again look to remedy the problem in Game 5. The Devils have controlled the tempo with their strong forecheck, but the reason why the series isn't 3-1 Devils or already over is because of the stellar play of Henrik Lundqvist in two shutouts. He may need to be flawless again if the Rangers want to push the Devils to the brink.

Team Scope:

Devils: After they were stifled by Lundqvist in Game 3, the Devils broke through for two early goals in Game 4 and rode the hot start to a 4-1 win. Emotions boiled over late with the outcome no longer in question, with the Rangers' Mike Rupp taking a jab at Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur.

"I think intensity will continue to rise throughout the remainder of the playoffs," defenseman Bryce Salvador said. "I think each game just means that much more. The team that's going to be the most composed I think is going to have the most success."

Rangers: Puck possession has been the Rangers' biggest issue in this series -- they haven't had much of it. New York hasn't been able to consistently break out of their zone cleanly and hasn't sustained a forecheck in the Devils' zone.

"It's a combination of a number of things," coach John Tortorella said. "It's getting out of your end clean. It's holding on to pucks in their end when they have opportunities. It comes just within your play. So there's no one particular thing. But it has been a series so far of them having the puck a lot more than we have. And that's what we're going to try to change."

Who's Hot: Salvador had a goal and three assists in four games. … Rangers rookie Chris Kreider has three of his team's nine goals in this series.

Injury Report: Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky is skating, but there remains no timetable for his return from a lower-body injury.

Stat Pack: The team scoring first in the Rangers' past 12 games has gone on to win that game. The last time that wasn't the case was Game 6 of the conference quarterfinals against the Senators, when the Rangers allowed the first goal but won 3-2 to stave off elimination. … With four assists, Brodeur has set a playoff record for assists by a goaltender.

Puck Drop: "I don't anticipate any more of that. I think the stakes are too high going forward here for any of that stuff to show up. But you never know."-- Devils coach Peter DeBoer, on whether the bad blood from Game 4 will continue into Game 5

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