Game 78: Race for President’s Trophy resumes against Devils

Note: Due to the holidays, there won’t be a goal breakdown following this game. At the time of writing this post, I believe all BSB writers were committed to other plans. While there won’t be a goal breakdown following the game, I will still get GIFs up at tomorrow night, after I get home.

The New York Rangers clinched the Metropolitan Division title with their win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday. Their next step is winning the President’s Trophy and securing home ice throughout the playoffs. That begins tonight in New Jersey against the Devils. The Devils may be out of the playoffs, but they have Cory Schneider in net, who is always capable of stealing a game. The Rangers have won both games thus far in the series though.

A win tonight knocks the magic number for the President’s Trophy to four. Over their next five games, the Rangers need to go just 3-2 to secure home ice. While that would be nice, it would be even better to see the Rangers start generating some more sustained puck pressure in the offensive zone, working on their cycle and getting long shifts to wear down the opposition. It’s not their style, as they are a team that gets their shots off the rush, but they will need a secondary attack.

What have they done lately?

The Devils are a .500 hockey club. Well, they are NHL .500, but at 32-33-13, they are well below actual .500. They are 4-4-2 in their last ten, so there’s really nothing to see here. They are a bad possession team, that is really only at .500 because of Schneider.

Moving on.

Devils Systems

Pete DeBoer, before he was canned, had the Devils playing a 1-2-2 forecheck which they would use aggressively in the offensive zone or passively in the neutral zone as a trap depending on game situation. In the defensive zone, Deboer employed a hybrid overload/zone defensive system depending on whether the puck is along the boards or at mid-ice. On special teams, the DeBoer used an umbrella/1-3-1 power play and a box/diamond penalty kill.

Adam Oates, while in Washington. ran an overload 1-2-2 forecheck and a fairly aggressive overload/low zone collapse in the defensive zone. On special teams, Oates ran a 1-3-1 powerplay and a hyprid PK.

Honestly, I haven’t watched the Devils this year.

Devils Lines

Stefan Matteau-Travis Zajac-Mike Cammalleri
Reid Boucher-Scott Gomez-Steve Bernier
Adam Henrique-Patrik Elias-Dainius Zubrus
Tuomo Ruutu-Jacob Josefson-Jordin Tootoo

Andy Greene-Adam Larsson
Jon Merrill-Damon Severson
Mark Fraser-Eric Gelinas

PP1: Cammalleri-Gomez-Bernier-Elias-Gelinas
PP2: Zajac-Henrique-Josefson-Tootoo-Severson

PK: Josefson, Zajac, Zubrus, Cammalleri, Elias, Henrique, Larsson, Greene, Fraser, Merrill

Cory Schneider gets the start.

Rangers Lines

Chris KreiderDerek StepanRick Nash
Mats ZuccarelloDerick BrassardJ.T. Miller
Carl HagelinKevin Hayes-Martin St. Louis
Tanner GlassDominic MooreJesper Fast

Marc StaalRyan McDonagh
Keith YandleDan Girardi
Matt HunwickDan Boyle

PP1: Stepan, Brassard, Kreider, Nash, Yandle
PP2: Miller, Hayes, Zuccarello, Boyle, McDonagh

PK: Stepan, Nash, Girardi, Staal, Moore, Fast, Hunwick, Boyle, Hagelin, Yandle, McDonagh

Henrik Lundqvist is in net.

Scratches/Injuries: Kevin Klein (arm), James Sheppard (healthy)

Crazy Prediction: Sheppard makes an Undertaker type return and Tombstone’s Schneider.

Be sure to check out our ticket link if you’re looking for tickets to the game. Game time is 7pm on MSG.

15 thoughts on “Game 78: Race for President’s Trophy resumes against Devils

  • Apr 4, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    I was just looking at the standings and as of play through Friday night. The Wild card teams are Bos & Pitt. However, if say the Caps & Pens or Bruins and Senators end up as the 2 Wild card teams (meaning 5 teams from either division) then there are 5 teams from either division and you can only have 2 divisional series. One of those wild cards would have to play a team from the other division.

    So for instance if the Caps & Habs played and the Caps won the series they would then play the winner of the 2-3 matchup in the Atlantic Division. Say TB won and the Caps beat them to get to the ECF.

    The Capitals(metro division) would then be the Atlantic division Champs? (It gets better) Then the Craps would have to play the winners of the Metropolitan Division in the ECF?
    This playoff format is so stupid. I never liked it. I hate to see the NHL change format constantly but go back to point based playoff system. They got this wrong in a big way. How does a team like that hang a banner in their arena for a division they are not in?

    • Apr 4, 2015 at 7:48 pm

      I don’t think they hand out divisional winner banners for the divisional playoff round, do they? The divisional banner goes to the team that wins the division during the regular season.

      Besides, the only round that I believe they refer to as a divisional match up is the first round series between the #2 and #3 divisional seeds.

      I don’t think the scenario you outline is all that odd, because the two teams that end up in the ECF aren’t necessarily supposed to be from opposing divisons.

      • Apr 4, 2015 at 9:52 pm

        I believe you are correct, Chris. The Division banner is for the regular season and the Conference banner is for the playoffs. Either way, the Rangers will have three more banners at the end of the season. Whichever team gets the Atlantic banner will only get one. LOL

      • Apr 5, 2015 at 10:28 am

        That’s the thing tho. If 5 teams come from any one division and there can only be two playoff series. That means one team has to cross over and play the other division. If the ECF ends up pitting two teams from the same divion. One team is the winner of the opposite division. I was being goofy on the banner idea but that could happen.

  • Apr 4, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    That’s how you win a game! My God. Hank was a beast, and that standing ovation as he lost his shutout bid was well deserved.

    Glass played a very good game as well. Hopefully the haters will recognize. He’s not the best 4th liner you’ll ever see (far from it) but the derision has to stop. This team will rise or fall, win or lose, as a unit, regardless of whether Glass or Sheppard suit up.

    • Apr 4, 2015 at 10:10 pm

      I think the most important point you make is that this team wins as a group. I think this is a pretty special team. They have great leadership. They seems like a very tight knit unit that has a team first attitude.

      I notice little things like how MSL is the last guy off the ice after the game congratulating the rest of the team as they pass by to the locker. I hear it in the player interviews. I see it in the way they win games. Everyone from the top line players and vets to guys like Hunwick, Talbot and the young players…it seems like a very tight knit group with a great team first mentality. I really think they’re gonna win it all.

      The best part is that this team is still so young and almost everyone is locked up for years to come. Even if they don’t win this season, it is hard for me to think that this group won’t win at least one Cup.

      • Apr 5, 2015 at 12:53 pm

        The lineup has changed over the course of the season but at one point the Rangers were one of the 5 oldest teams in the NHL. I know they aren’t old per se but the team isn’t young anymore. In 11/12 the Rangers were the 3rd youngest team in the NHL and made it to the ECF.
        As time has gone on through trades and roster turnover, they are a “win now” club. The time is now! I’ve said that before but it’s true now. This doesn’t happen every season.

        • Apr 5, 2015 at 1:47 pm

          Okay. Facts beat opinion every time. 🙂

    • Apr 4, 2015 at 10:14 pm

      You do realize Glass was on the ice when the Devils scored, right. 😉

      • Apr 4, 2015 at 10:31 pm

        Yup. Along with Fast, Moore, Yandle and Hunwick.

        He was also on the ice for 2 Rangers goals (and nearly 2 more) including one in which he not only had the primary assist, but made the entire play happen.

        I’m not trying to advocate that Glass is any more worthwhile than he really is, but the Rangers have had far worse bums on their teams in recent years and few were blamed as vociferously as Glass has been. At a certain point this becomes a self-fueling irrationality.

        • Apr 5, 2015 at 7:25 am

          Well said Chris. Glass serves a purpose and is far from as horrid as the majority of people make him out to be.

          • Apr 5, 2015 at 10:32 am

            Glass has played much better lately. Since the start of March he looks much better. He still blows defensive assignments sometimes like Weakside passing lanes but he looks a lot better than he did the first 4 months of the season.

        • Apr 5, 2015 at 11:26 am

          Really? I thought it was Nash and Zucc out there when the Devils scored…but that makes no sense.

          You make a great point about “far worse bums”. One thing I think about when sizing up this team vs other recent Ranger teams speaks to that point. This team is much deeper then last year or the strike season. No need to run down the list, but you’re right…if the biggest thing the fans have to harp on is the 12th forward it’s really nitpicking. Sather gave away Stemp while two years ago Taylor Pyatt was a 3rd liner, sooooooo……

  • Apr 5, 2015 at 11:13 am

    Another victory, another step towards the President’s trophy. And what are we talking about?(Again?)—-Tanner Glass. Get over the contract—–he ain’t giving the money back!! And the Rangers aren’t asking for it back, either. Talk about Hank. Heeee’s Baaack!!! Just one thing to temper the enthusiasm around last night’s game. The Devils suck, have no talent, and were coming off an OT victory over Montreal on Friday night. So lets not go crazy. They still gave up way too many shots against a team like that. But still, a nice Sat. night!

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