In a sea of Red, Black, White, and Blue – almost patriotic – the Devils finally beat the New York Rangers for the first time this season… oh, and the last time, since this was the last game of the season!
It was fun to be in the stands as the Devils’ Patrik Elias scored the game winning goal in the shootout. I guess seven wins would make any team cocky and think they were untouchable, but this is the first time where a game would really affect the standings.
Prior to Sunday’s matchup, the East was set, except for two teams: the Devils and the Rangers. If the Devils were to Win or simply take the game in to overtime, regardless of the outcome, they would have the fourth spot in the East and have home ice advantage. They would need to lose in 60 minutes for the Rangers to take fourth.
Because of this situation, the Rangers pulled their netminder Henrik Lundqvist with a minute left in the period. Without a regulation win, they would stay in fifth place in the standings. The Devils made the situation worse when John Madden was called for hooking with 30 seconds left. Thankfully, the Devils killed off the 6-on-4 advantage for the remainder of the third period to bring the game into overtime and secure the home ice advantage.
Here’s the bad news: things look a lot like they have in the past few seasons. The Devils played a great first period and then drift off the second and third. Of course the situation was exacerbated when Rangers fans out-cheered the Devils fans… either we were all too busy stuffing hard pretzels down our throats or watching in disbelief as the Devils blew a two goal lead.
Now the good news: The Devils have some momentum finally against the Rangers, especially beating them in a clutch game. Now the Devils have 4 to 7 more games against the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. The Devils are set to begin Round 1 on Wednesday at 7:00 in the Prudential Center.