newjerseydevils.com – The Devils believe they did a lot of things right in their Game 1 loss to the Rangers.
But rather than call Game 2 a "must-win," head coach Brent Sutter simply wants to see his team avoid repeating some costly mistakes.
Sutter feels that will be one of the keys for the Devils if they are to draw even in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal against the New York Rangers tonight at Prudential Center (7 p.m., MSG+, WWDJ 970 AM).
"When you're down one, it's a big game to even it up," Sutter said Thursday. "It still takes four to win a series. We know we're down one game. That's over and done with is how we play in [Game 2]."
The Devils will look to ramp up their offensive attack after managing only one goal in their 4-1 defeat to the Rangers on Wednesday. Paul Martin's power-play tally tied the contest in the second period before New Jersey allowed three in the third, including Ryan Callahan's shorthanded marker.
Martin Brodeur missed a chance to clear the puck from his crease, and Callahan came around the net to knock the puck over the line.
After recording one win in eight regular season meetings with their cross-river rivals, the goal now is to gain a split at home before the series shifts to Madison Square Garden on Sunday.
"When you get into the playoffs, every game is a huge game, and as the series goes on, they just get bigger," Sutter said. You go through [Game 1], and we played extremely well. Outside of the fact that we gave up that shorthanded goal, and made a mistake on the third goal.
"I'm the first to tell you when we don't play well. [In Game 1], we did a lot of good things."
Brodeur made 24 saves for the Devils, who lost the home-ice advantage they earned by beating the Rangers in a shootout during the regular-season finale Sunday.
The Devils netminder has given up six goals while losing each of his last two home playoff starts. He hasn't lost three straight at home in the postseason since dropping two to the Rangers in the 1997 semifinals and one to Ottawa in the 1998 quarters.
Brodeur is 53-32 with a 1.80 GAA and 14 shutouts in the playoffs at home.
The three-time Vezina Trophy winner hopes to fare better this time against ex-teammate Scott Gomez, who recorded the primary assist on each of New York's first three goals in Game 1.
Lundqvist stopped 26 shots for the Rangers, who had lost 11 of 12 series openers, starting with the 1994 conference finals against New Jersey. He snapped a three-start road losing streak and improved to 3-4 with a 2.84 goals-against average in seven career road playoff games.
with wire services
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