The New Jersey Devils saw a three goal lead disappear, but in the end they pulled out the win and went ahead of the New York Rangers 3-2 in their best of seven game series.
New Jersey was quick to strike first, scoring 2:43 into the period off a rebound shot by Stephen Gionta in front of the net. Then two minutes later Patrick Elias was credited with a goal to make it 2-0 Devils less than five minutes into the game. Travis Zajac added a third goal for the Devils and it’ looked as though this would be an easy win for New Jersey, but the momentum quickly shifted the other way following the goal.
The Rangers began to get their legs going and got opportunities, with one eventually paying off to get New York on the board.
Brandon Prust slipped one past a diving Martin Brodeur with 4:19 left in the first period to cut the Devils lead to two goals. Then, 32 seconds into the second period, Artem Anisimov fired a shot on net that redirected off the skate of Ryan Callahan and cut the Devils lead to just one goal.
New York continued to outplay the Devils, outshooting them in the period 11-5, but didn’t put another shot past Brodeur. Though at one point it looked like, for a split second, the Rangers had tied the game, but Callahan’s shot went along the goal line, hit the post and never made it in the net.
But the start of the third period brought about a tie game, as the Rangers capitalized on a Devil mistake.
Brodeur went out to play the puck, but realized it was in a no touch zone for him and was forced to retreat back to his net with a Ranger player bearing down. The puck wound up in front and Marian Gaborik took advantage of a flustered Brodeur and snuck the puck over the line to tie the game.
Yet it was still the Devils who would ultimately prevail. Gionta set up Ryan Carter with a great centering feed from the near side corner and Carter pushed it past Lundqvist to put New Jersey ahead late in the game. And Zach Parise iced it with his empty net goal at the 19:28 mark.
The interesting thing about the game was that it was clearly the Devils worst performance of the year and, arguable, the Rangers best. Yet New Jersey still found a way to win.
If you want to look on the bright side for the Rangers it is that they showed that they do have fight in them when they’re down big. Come back from a 3-0 deficit is no small task, but that being said the Devils showed that even when they’re not at the best they can still find a way to win a hockey game.
Neither goaltender was stellar in the game either. Brodeur stopped 25 of 28 shots for a .893 save percentage, while Lundqvist stopped 12 of 16 shots for a save percentage of .750. Not to mention both goalies gave up weak goals, as well as made a few mistakes that lead to goals or scoring chances for their opponent.
It will take a very big effort by the Rangers to turn things around in game 6 if they’re hoping to see a game 7.