Rangers 2, Devils 1 (F)
Tuesday, 06.19.2012 / 2:09 AM
Dainius Zubrus was in the middle of a hard-fought second period.
newjerseydevils.com (April 11) –
If the Devils are to win their series against the Rangers, they will have to overcome a two-game deficit.
Jaromir Jagr and Sean Avery scored 23 seconds apart in the opening five minutes of the third period on Friday night, sending the Devils to a 2-1 loss at Prudential Center.
The loss dropped the Devils into an 0-2 hole in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal as the series now shifts to Madison Square Garden for Sunday's Game 3.
Jagr broke a scoreless tie at 4:26 of the third period when he drove behind the net with the puck. Colin White
pursued Jagr around the Devil net, appearing to bump shoulders with Martin Brodeur
, who was hugging the left post.
Jagr spun to his right and whipped a shot that caromed off Brodeur's back and into the short side of the net.
Before the Devils could regroup, Avery put home his second of the series from the right hash marks to make it a 2-0 Ranger lead at 4:49.
John Madden's first of the playoffs cut the deficit in half with 1:23 remaining, when he redirected Patrik Elias
' shot from the top of the right circle past Henrik Lundqvist.
Brodeur posted 15 of his 28 stops in the third period, when the Rangers outshot the Devils 17-12. Brodeur's 166th playoff appearance moved him closer to Patrick Roy's all-time mark of 247.
Lundqvist made 26 saves to hold New Jersey to a goal for the second straight game. The Ranger netminder limited the Devils to one goal or less five times in eight meetings during the regular season.
Head coach Brent Sutter said he's not about to get frustrated – yet.
"It takes four games to win a series," he said, "and [the Rangers] have only won two."
A pair of tough calls hampered the Devils' efforts to draw even late in regulation. The Devils had pulled Brodeur with about a minute left, and Jamie Langenbrunner
was called for hooking on the ensuing 6-on-5 at 19:06.
Needing a goal, New Jersey kept Brodeur on the bench, which kept manpower even at 5-on-5 with Langenbrunner in the box.
Moments later, Paul Martin was pestered by Blair Betts as he carried the puck through the neutral zone, and dumped the puck in from the Devils' side of the red line. Michal Rozsival touched up behind the New York goal line, and the whistle was inexplicably blown for icing with 36 seconds left.
Instead of having the chance to fight for possession in New York territory, play stopped and the faceoff went to center ice.
But what the Devils might regret more than the icing call was the missed power play opportunity in the second period.
The Devils couldn't make good on a four-minute power play in the middle frame after Christian Backman's crosscheck shattered Zach Parise
's front teeth at 6:53. Backman received a double-minor, and Parise fortunately never left the game.
New Jersey never recorded a shot on goal with Backman in the box, and ended the night 0-for-5 in 10 minutes of power play time.
Parise finished with a remarkable 22 shifts and 18:52 of ice time and recorded a team-high six shots.
Simmering tempers came to a boil in the penalty-filled middle frame, and nearly every stoppage led to a confrontation. No fights erupted, but 13 minors and Backman's double resulted in 30 penalty minutes between the teams.
A scrum broke out in front of Brodeur at 12:35, with Colin White
tangling with Brendan Shanahan. Before the puck had dropped to continue play, Langenbrunner and ex-Devil Scott Gomez came together, each earning minors for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Scoreless after 40 feisty minutes, the teams looked to be headed for a tightly-contested third period. But before the frame was five minutes old, the Rangers had gone ahead by two.
Elias' second helper in as many games increased his club postseason assist record to 70, and upped his playoff point record to 106... Colin White
led all Devils in hits (4)... New Jersey is 1-4 all-time in playoff series after falling behind 0-2... The Devils have allowed five third-period goals in the series.