It is fitting that the first hockey game ever to be played at Yankee Stadium ended with a dominating New York Rangers win. The Rangers got off to a slow start, with defensive miscues, sloppy play, and mediocre goaltending putting the Rangers into a 3-1 hole early. But after that, the Blueshirts rattled off six straight goals, including four in the second period that eventually chased Martin Brodeur from the game.
It was in the second period where the Rangers found their legs and used their speed to completely steamroll the Devils. They forced turnovers, they capitalized on their 2-on-1s (that seemed to happen every ten seconds), and they shut down defensively to limit the Devils’ chances.
On to the goals:
Devils 1, Rangers 0
Patrik Elias found a soft spot behind Dan Girardi, Brian Boyle, and Ryan McDonagh. Ryane Clowe hit Elias with a great pass to spring him on the breakaway. Elias caught Henrik Lundqvist leaning left, and simply shot short side.
Rangers 1, Devils 1
Dominic Moore forced a turnover behind the net, and eventually got the puck to Boyle. Boyle sent the puck to Anton Stralman at the point, who one-timed it on net as Moore cut to the middle. Dan Carcillo was busy keeping Anton Volcheknov’s attention in front, allowing Moore to get to the loose puck after it ricocheted off Volchenkov. Moore chipped it past Marty to tie the game.
Devils 2, Rangers 1
With the Devils on the powerplay, Hank overcommitted to Jaromir Jagr on the rush, allowing for a passing lane behind him to the slot. Neither Dan Girardi nor Carl Hagelin picked up Elias in front. Easy tap-in goal. Technically Elias is Girardi’s man here, but he followed Jagr for an extra step or two.
Devils 3, Rangers 1
The Devils won an offensive zone face off, and the result was Jagr circling low and throwing the puck to Mark Fayne at the point. Fayne put the puck on net, which deflected off Jagr (covered by Kevin Klein) right to Travis Zajac. Zajac got position on John Moore for the goal.
Rangers 2, Devils 3
This time it was the Rangers who used an offensive zone face off win to get a goal. Marc Staal circled to the half boards and put the puck on net. It may have deflected off Bryce Salvador before beating Brodeur. If it didn’t, then this is one he wants back.
Rangers 3, Devils 3
Benoit Pouliot beat Salvador to a loose puck at the Rangers blue line, chipping the puck to Derick Brassard. Brass sent the puck to open ice, allowing John Moore to skate to it for the 2-on-1 break and goal by Mats Zuccarello. What the announcers missed is that Pouliot actually tied up Salvador along the boards, preventing him from getting back on the play. It looked like Pouliot trapped Salvador’s stick under his arm. Lucky he didn’t get called for it to be honest.
Rangers 4, Devils 3
Eric Gelinas went for the big hit on Pouliot instead of going for the loose puck here, which spring Zuccarello, Brassard, and John Moore for the 3-on-1 break. Brodeur didn’t appear to be square on Zuccarello after he received the puck from Brassard. Zuccarello went around him for the eventual game winner.
Rangers 5, Devils 3
Hagelin used his speed to get to the puck after a dump in from Ryan Callahan. After collecting the puck, he circled to the half boards and put one on net with Brad Richards in front. Marek Zidlicky appeared to be fronting, but given his issues this year, he just may not have noticed that Richards was in front. Regardless, the puck hit off him and past Brodeur.
Rangers 6, Devils 3
Stralman laid a big hit on Andy Greene as he crossed into the Rangers zone, resulting in a turnover. Marc Staal hit Derek Stepan with an outlet pass for a 3-on-1 with Rick Nash and Chris Kreider. Stepan got the puck across to Nash, who attempted to hit Kreider in the slot. Nash’s pass hit Fayne’s stick and went through Brodeur. This goal chased Marty from the game.
Rangers 7, Devils 3
Stepan got the goal on a penalty shot.
The chart here shows an exact 50/50 split in Fenwick. The split was pretty much the same at even strength as well. It was 5v5 close (+/- 2 goals) that the Rangers had a 51% Fenwick advantage. Aside from that, the game itself was rather even-keeled in terms of shot attempts. It was the Rangers who got more quality shot attempts though, as they took advantage of a lot of New Jersey miscues that led to odd-man rushes.
This was more or less a must-win game for the Rangers, who would have seen their reign as the second place team in the Metropolitan Division come to an end with a loss. Instead, they regrouped after a bad first period for six straight goals and a big win. The win showed that when the Rangers turn it on, they are better than the majority of their division. They had the stinker against the Islanders, but that was the only bad game this month. The team is still rolling.