NEW YORK, NY - MAY 14: Chris Kreider #20 of the New York Rangers celebrates his third period goal with teammates in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals against the New Jersey Devils during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on May 14, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
[Note by Bryan Winters, 05/14/12 11:44 PM EDT - Sorry for the delay guys, the editor was having some technical difficulties. ]
The New York Rangers got the job done tonight, despite not playing their greatest hockey in the second period. The Rangers erupted in the third period, and put two goals past Martin Brodeur to secure the victory.
The Rangers started off the game with a slight edge to their game, and started to outwork the Devils. The Rangers had a few chances in the beginning, but the Devils began to pick up some steam. The Rangers were handed their first power play of the game as Anton Volchenkov was whistled down for delay of game.
The Rangers had a normal Rangers power play, and weren't able to generate any chances. Through the second period, the Rangers began to lose their legs, which allowed their Devils to make a push.
Follow after the jump for some more.
The Devils came out flying in the second period, and had the Rangers pinned in their own zone for quite some time. Luckily the Rangers were able to fight off the pressure with some blocked shots, and stellar play from Henrik Lundqvist.
The Rangers struggled to get out of the second period, but were very, very lucky to escape the period without allowing a goal. Up until this point, Dan Girardi definitely didn't play his best hockey tonight, but made up for it just a minute into the third period.
Chris Kreider had great patience as he entered into the Devils zone, curled up and lofted a pass back torwards Girardi, who was streaking into the zone. Girardi was left untouched as he had just hoped on the ice from a line change, and ripped it home from just inside the blue line.
Props to Derek Stepan who provided a monster screen in front of Brodeur, who never saw a thing. From that point on, the Rangers were playing a like a team possessed. A couple minutes later, Steve Bernier threw a high hit that caught Dan Girardi in the numbers, and he would go off for boarding.
On the ensuing power play, Artem Anisimov would make a nifty chip pass over the Chris Kreider, who snapped it under the arm of Brodeur. Just a great play all around for Anisimov and Kreider, and they got the job done.
Anisimov would put the nail in the coffin by adding an empty net goal with just under 1:30 remaining in regulation. Despite playing some mediocre hockey through two periods, the Rangers just had to win a single period, and they did it here tonight.
Let me just talk about Ryan McDonagh here, before I wrap this up. McDonagh played like an absolute beast tonight. He was a monster on the backcheck, and made a great play on Zach Parise to break up a partial breakaway. He had another play later in the second period, where he caught up to Ilya Kovalchuk on another partial break, and gave him no room to shoot. McDonagh is getting better, game by game, and he just continues to impress.
The Rangers will have a day off before they go right back at it on Wednesday night in Game Two. Start time again is 8:00 PM on NBC Sports Network.