Weather the storm. That’s what the Rangers needed to do in the first period, as the Devils came out flying, even jumping out to a 1-0 lead off a powerplay goal. Then the adjustments took their course, and the Rangers exploded for five straight to bury the Devils for the second time in Newark this series. Two powerplay goals by Chris Kreider, bookended by goals from trade deadline acquisitions Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrick Kane, who had a marvelous game, sent the Rangers back to MSG with a 2-0 series lead.
Showtime in the swamp indeed, as Kane followed up his relatively mediocre effort in Game 1 (still had 2 assists) with another pair of primary assists and a great goal to seal it. Kreider again got his pair of goals from in front of the net on the powerplay. Both, again, were absolutely clutch goals, cementing his position as perhaps the clutchiest Ranger of all time.
Before the playoffs started, we knew the Rangers stars would need to produce.
Before the playoffs started, we knew the Rangers would be in it if they owned special teams and Igor Shesterkin was himself.
They are. He is.
Before the playoffs started, we knew that if the Rangers could get both Igor and special teams, but also control 5v5 play, they’d be unstoppable.
So far, so good. It’s time to eat.
Devils 1, Rangers 0
The Rangers couldn’t clear on the powerplay twice, and that usually leads to bad things, including a deflected shot that Shesterkin couldn’t get all of, and Erik Haula poked the loose puck into the net.
Rangers 1, Devils 1
The Rangers had a great shift, keeping the zone and winning puck battles. Eventually, Adam Fox drew a defender to him before Vladimir Tarasenko circled from the top of the circle to the slot, took the puck, and rifled one through the Vincent Trocheck screen.
Rangers 2, Devils 1
Chris Kreider in front on the powerplay. That’s three in two games. Great vision from Patrick Kane, knowing Kreider was in front, and putting it in a spot where he could get the deflection.
Rangers 3, Devils 1
Kreider. From Kane. On the powerplay. Again.
Rangers 4, Devils 1
The Devils pressed hard, and this left them vulnerable once the puck got out of the Rangers zone. Patrick Kane did everything here.
Rangers 5, Devils 1
Kaapo Kakko had himself a game, and he got rewarded by getting to the net and roofing Filip Chytil’s pass. The Rangers owned the Devils at even strength, winning puck battles and this was no different.