NEWARK, NJ - MAY 21: Linesman Brian Murphy #93 pulls Mike Rupp #71 of the New York Rangers away from Martin Brodeur #30 after an altercation in the third period of Game Four of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Prudential Center on May 21, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The New York Rangers were simply outplayed, and outclassed tonight against the New Jersey Devils. The Rangers fell into a deep 2-0 deficit, and had a tough time fighting their way back into the game. All series long the Rangers have been desperately outplayed by the Devils in the first, but luckily they were able to escape. Tonight however, was a different story.
Just eight minutes into the game, Bryce Salvador flipped a shot on net, which found it's way through a ton of bodies, and slipped through the five hole of Henrik Lundqvist. There really was nothing you could do on this play, as the puck had eyes from the moment it left the stick of Salvador.
Just about four minutes later, Travis Zajac put the Devils up 2-0 with a nice saucer pass coming from Zach Parise. Del Zotto had a bad read on the 2-on-1, and dropped to his stomach. That allowed Parise to chip it over the sprawling Del Zotto, and over the Zajac.
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This was a typical Rangers first period, as I stated above. This time they weren't so fortunate to get out of the period still being tied at zero. The second period was a slight bit better, but neither team was able to get anything up on the board during the second period.
The Rangers really got themselves into penalty trouble in the third period, but some of them were very debatable. Just two minutes into the third period, Zach Parise came away with a power play goal when he slammed home a rebound that slid through Lundqvist's crease, and just like that it was 3-0.
Three minutes later, things began to get ugly as John Tortorella threw out Stu Bickel, and Mike Rupp to stir something up. The initial hit from Rupp behind the net was clean in my mind, but apparently it was roughing (sure?). After the hit Martin Brodeur had some words with Rupp, and it ended with Brodeur (who acted as if he was shot), being shoved by Rupp.
All hell broke loose as every Devil in the vicinity tried to get a piece of Rupp. After everything was sorted, the Rangers would find themselves down for four minutes. Things would get much worse as Carl Hagelin would take a slashing penalty, which was definitely a tad bit weak and the Devils would have a two-man advantage for 1:30.
The Rangers would kill off the penalty, and would finally come away with their first goal of the game. Ruslan Fedotenko snapped a shot on net, which found a way under the pad of Brodeur, and it was 3-1. In the closing minutes, the Rangers brought on the extra attacker, and had some great looks, but were unable to get anything by Brodeur. Zach Parise would ice the game with an empty net goal, and give the Devils the 4-1 win.
The Rangers really need to get their act together, as their poor first period play finally caught up with them tonight. They need to come out with some fire in their game on Wednesday night.