Update, 9:37 p.m.: Rangers 5, Devils 3: Tremendous game. Marc Staal goes from quasi-goat in Game 3 to hero of Game 4.
Update, 8:50 p.m.: Rangers 3, Devils 2: At the risk of stating the obvious, this is a huge period. I’m still trying to make sense of everything that happened in the last one.
Update, 8:26 p.m.: Rangers 3, Devils 2: Too…much…happening… Can’t…keep….up….
Update, 8:08 p.m.: Rangers 2, Devils 1: I’m very uncomfortable giving too much credit to defensemen. But the poke check by Marc Staal on Zach Parise is huge, and it ends up setting up the goal by Martin Straka.
Update, 8:03 p.m.: Rangers 1, Devils 1: This is kind of what I was getting at with that last post. The Rangers’ season-long second period problems continue. Patrik Elias gets the rebound goal.
Update, 7:45 p.m.: A dominant first period, yes, but still only a 1-0 lead. I wouldn’t count on that holding up, so the Rangers need more.
Update, 7:30 p.m.: Rangers 1, Devils 0. Dan Girardi should get two assists for that shift, when he dove to keep the puck in the zone, set up Scott Gomez once all alone in front, then set him up again. The goal is Gomez’s first of the playoffs.
Update, 7:25 p.m.: A relentless start by the Rangers results in…a Devils power play.
Update, 7:18 p.m.: Strong start by the Rangers. And another rock solid performance by John Amirante (I had a sense he’d bring it tonight after hearing him warm-up in the bathroom). Here’s the picture I took from my seat in the lower press box.
Update, 6:59 p.m.: We’ll chime in with occasional updates before things get really crazy. First order of business: I mistakenly had two helpings of the mysterious chicken cordon bleu in the media dining room, so if I keel over midway through the game, you’ll know why.
Pregame: The question earlier today was about momentum, and whether it means anything from one game to the next. Tom Renney said that no one has it now despite the Devils’ win in Game 3. Jaromir Jagr said if the Devils have it, it doesn’t mean much.
“Momentum can change in any minute of a hockey game,” Jagr said. “Of course it can change the other way, too. If you watch the other series, one goal can change everything. But I think if you play good and you’re lucky, that’s more important.”
Ah yes, luck. It’s funny how we have all gone to great lengths in trying to break down this series and then it’s a puck caroming off someone’s skate that’s the difference between 2-0 and 3-1. Obviously a lot more goes into these games than mere bounces. But sometimes, that’s what it comes down to.
<li>Big crowd around Tom Renney just now, but not a whole lot to report other than Stephen Valiquette making his playoff debut in goal.
Actually, I was just making sure you were all paying attention.
<li>As Jagr was working on his sticks in the hallway, I noted the curve on his stick looked a bit extreme. Jagr then went into a whole explanation about how, since they changed the rules last year, it’s almost impossible to have an illegal curve. Then he said if he had this sort of curve earlier in his career, there’d have been no stopping him.
“They didn’t change it when I was good,” Jagr said. “Do you know how many points I’d have?”
Again, Jagr seemed very uptight before the game…
<li>Word is Perry Pearn’s name has emerged as a candidate for the Florida Panthers job vacated by Jacques Martin (who has stayed on as GM). Pearn was an assistant coach under Martin in Ottawa from 1996-2003.
More in a bit…