NEW YORK, NY - MAY 16: David Clarkson #23 of the New Jersey Devils scores a third period goal past Henrik Lundqvist #30 and Ryan Callahan #24 of the New York Rangers in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on May 16, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
- What a strange game. That's probably the best way to put it. I've never seen so many broken sticks, fanned passes and shots, players falling down and bouncing pucks in my life. The ice was atrocious, and it hurt both teams Wednesday night.
- With that being said, the New York Rangers played just about as bad of a game as I can remember in these playoffs. They couldn't get more shots or traffic on Martin Brodeur (who looked a little rocky all game), couldn't clear the zone and got dominated in terms of possession when the New Jersey Devils got in the Rangers' zone. With that being said, the Rangers only lost 3-2. And if Chris Kreider doesn't hit the post and the Rangers go up 3-1, this might be a much different game.
Join me after the jump.
- Speaking of Kreider, what a hockey player he is. A pretty little deflection on the power play, coupled by the fact that he was actually screening Brodeur on the power play, earned him his first goal. Later in the game he smoked Brodeur again, but his beautiful low shot hit the pipe. The biggest thing about Kreider? He never gives up. His motor is always running. And Wednesday night we saw a fire in his game. Banging the glass after a mistake, getting upset after he couldn't negate an icing, stuff like that. I love that. Absolutely love it. He was one of the only players who had a fire in him.
- I thought Henrik Lundqvist played really well, he just had no support.
- Put me in the group of people who didn't think it was a good idea to bench Marian Gaborik in a one-goal game.
- Since this happened twice I figure I'll mention it. The Rangers' penalty kill left Ilya Kovalchuk alone twice. As in, all alone. On the first opportunity he roofed a beautiful shot for a goal after Derek Stepan decided he would rather cover Marek Zidlicky than Kovalchuk. Can't put too much blame on Stepan there though, since he was left alone with two Devils. The second chance was shut down by Lundqvist on a beautiful left-to-right save. The Rangers have to make sure they have a set of eyes on him at all times. He showed why Wednesday night.
- The officiating was horrifying again Wednesday, for both teams. My favorite non-call was Ryan McDonagh having his stick held by a Devil (I can't remember which) who was on the ground in the fetal position holding McDonagh's stick tighter than Brodeur holds his bucket of endless wings from KFC to the point where McDonagh was literally DRAGGING him as he tried to get back into the play. The best part? The official who was two feet from the play watched the whole thing and saw no issue. My word, guys, this stuff can't be happening on a national stage.
- Anyone think this series is over? If you answered yes, the exits are behind you. The sheer panic from some of you (although not many here) is insanity.
- how big will these two full days of rest be? Especially since the Rangers don't have to travel and can practice at home. They looked pretty tired Wednesday night, hopefully these two days off help.