Update, 10 p.m.: Rangers win 5-3. I’m officially in the clear.
Update, 9:09 p.m. Rangers 4, Devils. End of two. Yes, I will assume some responsibility for jumping the gun. But you can’t really pin two flukey goals on a guy sitting 100 stories up in the press box. Or can you?
Update, 8:59 p.m. Rangers 4, Devils 3. We’ve officially entered white knuckle territory. Patrik Elias scores on a 5-on-3 to pull the Devils back within one.
Update, 8:50 p.m.: Rangers 4, Devils 2. OK, you can officially resent me for that last post. I deserve it. Bryce Salvador makes it 4-2 after the puck bounces off Brandon Dubinsky, off the post, and off Henrik Lundqvist and into the net. Just like they drew it up.
Update, 8:39 p.m.: Hello Pittsburgh (or Montreal or Philadelphia)? Chris Drury makes it 4-1 after a feed from the corner from Nigel Dawes.
Update, 8:34 p.m.: If you’re Marty Brodeur, it’s never a good sign when you’re getting sarcastic cheers from your crowd for fielding an innocent dump-in. Living legends just don’t get treated like they used to.
Update, 8:32 p.m. Start of the second. Beware the dreaded two-goal lead.
Update, 8:10 p.m. Rangers 3, Devils 1: The Devils had been dominating right up until this point. I was literally just going to turn to Carpie and say that Brendan Shanahan has been invisible in this period when the veteran just set up the goal by winning a puck with his feet to Sean Avery. Scott Gomez roofed the rebound.
Update, 7:59 p.m.: Rangers 2, Devils 1: Rangers weather the first Devils power play, but now face another when they get called for too many men on the ice.
Update, 7:51 p.m.: Rangers 2, Devils 1. Jagr steps in from the half wall and beats Brodeur five-hole. Now the Rock P.A. system is playing Loverboy’s “Everybody’s Working For The Weekend.” That can’t be helping the Devils right now. Or anyone for that matter….
Update, 7:48 p.m.: Devils 1, Rangers 1. Never mind. Jagr tosses puck up high to Rozsival and he buries it. Now the Rangers have a power play as well.
Update, 7:47 p.m.: Devils 1, Rangers 0. Bad match-up for the Rangers. Their fourth-line against the Zubrus line. Giontabeats Lundqvist high glove side.
Update, 7:32 p.m.: The Rangers start the Drury line up front and Fedor Tyutin and Dan Girardi at defense. The Devils go with their line of Dainius Zubrus, Brian Gionta, and Travis Zajac, with Johnny Oduya and Paul Martin at defense.
Carpie says if the Rangers win tonight he and I are going directly to Pat’s Hubba Hubba in Port Chester.
This may be a reason to root for the Devils.
Update, 7:25 p.m.: OK, we’ll be chiming in live and (not so) up close from the Prudential Center. I’m centering a line in the press box with Zipay on my right and Carpie on the left. Carpie, of course, covered the Rangers’ last Cup win in 1994. But there’s no truth to the rumor he was on the beat in 1940 as well.
He was only an intern at the time….
Pregame: At one point in his pre-game media scrum here at the Rock, Tom Renney was asked whether he’s watching any of the other games this postseason.
“I watch the Western Conference games as a fan and a I watch the Eastern Conference games as a coach,” he said.
Later, after the session was over and Renney was walking back to the Rangers locker room, I said, “I imagine your goal is to start watching the Western Conference games as a coach?”—the implication, of course, that his team would be playing one of those West teams in the Finals.
A smile creeped across the coach’s face.
“Oh man, wouldn’t that be nice,” he said.
That is as far as anyone will go at this point, especially with a crucial Game 5 awaiting in only a couple of hours. In fact, speaking of other games in the playoffs, Renney said he would reference Montreal’s own 3-1 game last night, when the Canadiens saw a 1-0 lead disintegrate into a 5-1 loss.
“Last night’s a pretty good example of what might happen if you take your foot off the gas a bit,” he said. “Montreal’s a heck of a hockey team and Boston was allowed to do what they needed to do to get themselves a win. So there’s a clear example there within reach, so we’ll allude to that a little bit and just make sure we pay attention to what’s been good to us, and ask guys for even more.”
Giannone chimed in. “You have way too much time on your hands,” he said.Jagr responded, “When they’re killing penalties, what do you think I’m doing?”
More in a bit…