It's not to say the Rangers didn't play hard, but the Devils just wanted the win more than they did. Their battle level was higher and they were up to the task of thwarting numerous Rangers power plays in crunch time.
The Rangers pissed away their opportunities against the Penguins Tuesday night and they pissed away a possible two points against the Devils. They played sloppy hockey and didn't have the needed sense of urgency to win the game. The few opportunities they did have, they didn't capitalize on. The Devils gave them every chance possible to tie the game in the third, but the Rangers just didn't have it in them.
Ilya Kovalchuk started off the scoring with a laser over Henrik Lundqvist's shoulder. Hank had another pedestrian game and would eventually be pulled after goals by Danius Zubrus and Brian Rolston. A perfect example of why I dislike the All-Star Game; instead of taking some needed rest, Hank was strolling the pseudo red carpet and taking part in a meaningless exhibition in which he was left out to dry.
Ryan Callahan and Vinny Prospal had goals for the Rangers. In his first game of the season Prospal remarkably didn't appear to have missed a beat. He may have been riding a wave of adrenaline but it looks like he'll be a major boost to the offense.
With less than a second left on the clock, Brandon Dubinsky hit the post and was inches away from sending the game into overtime. Even though Yo-Yo Joe Michelletti was convinced the puck went in, luck wasn't on the Rangers side. Then again, the Rangers never should have been in the position where a stroke of bad luck could do them in.
To put it simply: this is another one the Rangers should have been able to win. A team with nothing to play for, was more focused than a team that had everything to play for. Let's hope the inconsistency stops here.