The New York Rangers put on quite the performance tonight at Madison Square Garden, and destroyed the New Jersey Devils by a final score of 6-1. Right from the opening face-off, the Rangers went right after the Devils, and came away with three unanswered goals in the first period. Henrik Lundqvist also had a huge game tonight, and despite the lopsided score, he made a handful of beautiful saves to keep the game out of reach.
Rick Nash got the party started tonight by knocking home an excellent centering pass from Mats Zuccarello, and gave the Rangers an early 1-0 lead. After watching the replay, it didn't even look like Nash saw the puck come his way, but he was rewarded for being in the right place, and having his stick planted on the ice. About seven minutes after Nash gave the Rangers the early lead, Keith Yandle caught Corey Schneider with a change up from the point, and extended the lead to 2-0.
Yandle's fake cross-ice pass over to Matt Hunwick wound up fooling Schneider completely, and he beat him over the glove by floating one in from the blue line. The crowd would get another treat just 25 seconds later as Dominic Moore deflected home a pass from Tanner Glass, and gave the Rangers a commanding 3-0 lead. Glass created this entire play (yes, you read that correctly) by chipping the puck off the boards to himself, stepped around the defender, and quickly dished a cross-ice feed to the streaking Moore.
Moore was all alone as he was driving the net, and deflected the puck just under the crossbar to beat Schneider for the third time on six shots. That goal wound up ending Schneider's evening, and Keith Kinkaid came in to relieve him of his duties for the remainder of the game. The second period didn't have nearly as much scoring action, but with under a minute left, Derek Stepan knocked home the Rangers ninth shorthanded goal of the season.
Rick Nash was able to catch the puck coming around the boards, and found Stepan breaking up ice all alone with the Devils caught on a line change. Stepan had plenty of time to work with, made a slick move to the backhand, and slipped the puck between the legs of Kinkaid to make it a 4-0 lead. The Rangers weren't done there though, as they chipped in two more goals within the first 12 minutes of the third period, and put this game out of hand at 6-0.
Derick Brassard came away with the first goal of the period as he lofted a shot on goal from the corner, and the puck wound up deflecting off of Adam Larsson in front of the net. Kinkaid was unable to adjust after the deflection, and the puck slipped behind him for the goal. Ten minutes later, Dominic Moore deflected in his second goal of the evening on Ryan McDonagh's booming slap shot from the point. Initially, it looked like McDonagh just smoked it by Kinkaid, but the replay on MSG clearly showed Moore getting a slight piece of the puck as it came in on net.
With the game pretty much in the bag, the Rangers fell back a bit, and with about four minutes remaining, the Devils finally broke Lundqvist's shutout streak. Tuomo Ruutu's shot from the high slot wound up making it through the traffic in front, and beat Lundqvist just under the glove. With Lundqvist clearly frustrated that he gave up the goal, the crowd responded with a standing ovation, which was well deserved after the performance he put on tonight.
The Rangers were able to kill off the remaining time on the clock, and reached the 50 win mark for the fourth time in franchise history. After tonight, the Rangers have four games remaining on the schedule, and will welcome the Columbus Blue Jackets into Madison Square Garden on Monday night.