I’m not going to fake it, as if I saw the whole game. Because I didn’t. I could have watched the whole replay, but, geez, the Devils sure make it difficult to do that.
But they sure are effective playing that way.
1) Ilya Kovalchuk, when he’s going like this, might be the third best forward in the league. Not many can hold the puck and create their own chances like he can. Certainly, the Rangers’ main sniper can’t. They’re different types of players, but even though I think Marian Gaborik hasn’t been bad at all lately, he absolutely hasn’t been the kind of guy who puts the team on his back, the kind of guy you notice every single shift, the way Kovalchuk is right now.
2) This may have been Henrik Lundqvist’s best game of the year, or at least one of them. Wasted.
3) The Devils clog the neutral zone and back off and create a ping-pong turnover game. But what they’ve never gotten enough credit for is their play in the defensive zone, the way they close off the slot from the net all the way on out, with active sticks and bodies. They don’t chase the puck. More like a basketball zone defense. I’ve often wondered why more NHL teams don’t play that way, especially since the Devils have had so much success with it.
4) How can there be only three minor penalties in a Rangers-Devils game? Where are the skirmishes?
5) Looked like Brandon Prust got banged up again. I know “It’s Just Pain” but it’s got to be affecting the way he plays.
6) I wonder how happy the Rangers really are to be playing a 12:30 game as their third in four days, against the best team in the East, tomorrow.
7) Gotta love Chico Resch talking about Sauer and McDonagh. He said they are the Rangers’ best shutdown pair, and then mentioned that they don’t score much, but that that’s OK because the Rangers have plenty of other scorers. Huh?
8) Just a thought: Who comes out if everybody’s healthy when Ruslan Fedotenko returns?
AP photo, above.