NEWARK, New Jersey – The Devils have slipped once again in the face of a must-win game at home to cross river rivals, the New York Rangers.
What looked to be a high scoring game fizzled out leaving the men in red sweaters skating off the ice in defeat. The Devils have managed to squeak out only 1 of a possible 8 points over the last week officially dropping them into a tie for the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference.
The first and second periods were a hockey viewer’s dream with a consistent forecheck and back-to-back goals by both teams. Back-up net-minder Johan Hedberg started his 13th game of the season for injured Martin Brodeur. The Rangers were able to get the first score on a Michael Del Zotto short-hander at 8:11 into the first. Del Zotto was able to break a 20-game scoreless drought giving NY the 1-0 lead.
The next 1:58 would prove to be the most exciting of the game seeing three goals in this short period of time.
Travis Zajac ripped one past Swede Henrik Lundqvist after hacking away at a pair of rebounds loose in front of the net tying the game at 1.
Seconds later Ilya Kovalchuk bounced a puck off of everything except the back of the net.
Ranger Carl Hagelin was able to in turn beat Hedberg with a chip from the side of the net after a long shot by Dan Girardi.
Devil defenseman Anton Volchenkov was able to answer back with his own blue line rifle tying the game back at 2. The Devils left the first with some of the best offense they’ve played all year leading shots on goal 12-9.
The remainder of the game saw excellent play out of the New York defense. Long time assassin Rick Nash was able to wrist home what turned out to be the game winner on the far stick side of Hedberg at 12:35 into the second with an assist credited to Del Zotto.
New Jersey came out flat in the 3rd and was unable to get anything past Lundqvist even with the extra attacker on the ice. The Devils were 1 for 4 on the PP and gave up 1 SH goal on the night. The Devils look to have veteran Brodeur between the pipes for Thursday night’s game on the road against Carolina. Although Hedberg has played well through his 13 starts having 20-year Devil Brodeur back in goal might be the spark New Jersey needs.