Devils Facing Elimination
The New Jersey Devils are facing elimination in their first round series against the Rangers Friday. It’s not a case of win or go home, as they are already at home.
Of course, it’s not as if the Prudential Center has provided a buffer of insurance for the Devils; they dropped the first two games of this series in their home arena.
But tonight, it’s do or die.
What’s been happening in this series that has allowed the Rangers to build a commanding 3-1 lead?
Martin Brodeur has been getting harassed between the pipes by the Rangers, particularly super pest Sean Avery. The team has complained about the lack of calls against the Rangers as they have run the All-Star netminder every chance they’ve had. His GAA is almost 3.00 and his save percentage is just .904, so apparently it’s working.
Patrik Elias is doing his job, recording points in every game (three goals and two assists in total), however, he’s -4 and is not getting enough support.
Sergei Brylin’s down season has carried right on into the playoffs. He’s got a goal, but that’s his only point. At least he’s even plus/minus.
Brian Gionta, coming off a solid season in which he stayed healthy, has been a complete non-factor, going scoreless with a -1 ranking.
Colin White is logging too much ice time, and he’s combined with Paul Martin to go -6. Isn’t this supposed to be the team’s top defensive pairing?
The fact that steady defenceman Karel Rachunek is missing in action because of a neck injury is hurting the defence corps.
On the plus side, Jamie Langebrunner has shaken off an unproductive, injury-shortened season to record three assists already.
For the Rangers, it’s been more of the same for goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who enjoyed a fantastic season and has continued to shine, with a 2.20 GAA and .924 save percentage in the postseason.
Jaromir Jagr suffered through another season of decline, but looks rejuvenated in the playoffs, potting one goal with four assists through four games.
Brendan Shanahan looked just about done this year, but he’s been strong in this series with a goal and two assists.
The Rangers are getting contributions up and down the lineup. In Game One, Ryan Callahan, who scored just eight goals this year, got a huge short-handed effort that proved to the game-winner.
In an even worse omen for the Devils, Chris Drury looks like he’s finally come untracked in this series, scoring a goal and an assist in the last game after getting shut out in the first three games.