Rangers-Devils matchups … oh, and Live Game 1 Chat Monday at 3

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Be there for a Live Game 1 Chat from the Garden at 3 p.m. tomorrow. Or else.

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Here are my matchups for the Eastern Conference finals:

FORWARDS:
How the roles have changed. Used to be that the Rangers had all the high-profile skill and the Devils had the grinders. Well, now the Devils are clearly a more potent offensive team and it’s the Rangers who clog and give up nothing and win 2-1 games. The Devils’ Ilya Kovalchuk (5-7-12 in the playoffs) is the most explosive player in the series, as was Washington’s Alex Ovechkin in the previous series, and he’s surrounded by linemates Travis Zajac (5-5-10) and Alexei Ponikarovsky; plus captain (future Ranger?) Zach Parise, who plays with the still-dangerous Patrik Elias and David Clarkson, who had a career year, plus rookie of the year candidate Adam Henrique. The Rangers have relied heavily on the Carl Hagelin-Brad Richards-Marian Gaborik, and obviously need some consistent scoring from the second line, which for Game 7 was rookie Chris Kreider with Derek Stepan and Ryan Callahan. In terms of two-way forwards, the Rangers have more of them, and their third and fourth lines, especially Brian Boyle and Brandon Prust, were at times stellar in the first two rounds.
EDGE: Devils.

DEFENSEMEN:
These aren’t your father’s Devils, of Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer and Ken Daneyko, or even Slava Fetisov. The Devils’ D-men  are solid, if unspectacular. Ex-Ranger Marek Zidlicky and Anton Volchenkov were both injured in the Devils’ clinching game against Philadephia, but both expected to play tonight. The Rangers’ top four have been sensational — Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal and Michael Del Zotto. They go with five most of the game, and ex-Devil Anton Stralman has fit in nicely as the fifth, adding some offense, too. The Rangers win with defense … and goaltending.
EDGE: Rangers.

GOALTENDERS:
Martin Brodeur is an all-timer with three rings, going directly to the Hall of Fame and in the argument of the best ever. But he’s 40 and he’s not the Brodeur from the 1990s and early 2000s. And he’s sure had his problems with the Rangers in the postseaton, losing three of four series, two of those on wrap-around goals (Stephane Matteau in ‘94, Adam Graves in ‘97). Henrik Lundqvist owns the Devils (23-6-5, 1.73 goals-against average, .935 save percentage, plus five shutouts in the regular season) and has split two series against the Devils in the playoffs, including a five-game victory in 2008.
EDGE: Rangers.

SPECIAL TEAMS:
It’s easy to say the Rangers’ power play has stunk in the playoffs (and it has), and that their penalty killing hit a bit of a skid against Washington (it did). But, truth is, they each scored four PPGs in the series. The Devils’ power play is at 20.8 percent in the playoffs, by far the best of all the remaining teams, but their penalty kill was an awful 73.9 percent, having allowed 12 PPGs in 12 games.
EDGE: Even.

COACHES:
They’ve already had their contentious moments … the three synchronized fights to start the last meeting at MSG, after which Peter DeBoer, who as the visiting coach first submitted his lineup that included all his sluggers, suggested that John Tortorella either has memory loss or is a hypocrite. DeBoer has done a terrific job, no doubt about it. Tortorella may not win the coach of the year, which was already voted upon by the league’s broadcasters, but if you add up regular-season and playoffs he is the coach of the year hands-down.
EDGE: Rangers.

PREDICTION:
Rangers in 6.

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Make your picks over there ———->

 

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162 Comments

  1. CARPED

    Thanks, Carp. I figured he was upset about how many reporters were there. I was surprised to hear that Torts wants the red line reinstated for purposes of the two-line pass being whistled. Hopefully, someone can ask him more about that at an appropriate time in the offseason.

    Jorek – NHL said it was kicked in, I thought.

  2. Carp,

    I was discussing the series with my cousin earlier, and I outlined the series in EXACTLY the same way as you. Can we be friends now?

  3. I don’t think the official ruling was hat it was kicked in . . .they listened to see if the whistle was blown and decided that the ref had lost sight of the puck and had intent to blow whistle so play was dead. . .

  4. Happy mothers day! Was thinking rangers in six as well. Thinking coyotes in seven. What a season

  5. Jorek, I didn’t say it was … I still haven’t heard an official reason … Boyle first thought it was ruled he kicked it in, then thought it was ruled he interfered with Neckbeard Holtby … and I’ve heard the speculation that the ref intended to blow the play dead … but the ref’s microphone malfunctioned during the announcement, just as it did on the Chris Neil, ahem, goal and one other (I forget which).

  6. E3 (pimp's angel) stay thirsty my freinds on

    Cccp=Brooklyn pimp – great movie…. You can imagine Marty loving those food scenes.

  7. “The Devils’ Ilya Kovalchuk (5-7-12 in the playoffs) is the most explosive player in the series”
    Brad Richards, 6-5-11 so far.

  8. Dave Strader and Darren Pang, who just a couple years ago were the Coyotes announcers, doing the game. I would not blame Kings fans for being upset with that, and the same goes for Emrick and the Debbies.

  9. I’m really not sure who I should root for. I like LA, but I’d love SC finals to be played in Tony’s neighborhood. Also, Maloney connection. I guess I’ll just watch hockey.

  10. Speaking of Semin….I do not think his playoffs performance this year helped him in terms of getting a hefty contract this summer….Having said that, it won’t affect my sleep at all.

  11. Thanks, Carp, I couldn’t find any info this morning.

    Jorek- preliminary it’s scheduled for May 21st. I’m going to have a discussion with his doctors tomorrow, it was originally scheduled for 29th. He didn’t have a great day yesterday, but better today.

  12. E3 (pimp's angel) stay thirsty my freinds on

    Sally – the globe is reporting that: 1)Bill and hillary have split, and she moved in with another woman;

    2) Whitney Houston drowned in her sink, not the bath tub; and

    3) Marty has gained 200 pounds since the flyer series.

    All 3 likely true.

  13. E3, I saw that Hilary Clinton article when I was with my mom. We were not surprised.

    According to wikipedia (on the day we signed Gabby), Maaaaarty actually weighs 2,000 lbs.

  14. Oh, wikipedia also said that Gabby plays for the Mets AND the AK Bars, has a 14 in- ummmmmm, well, it said he likes Civil War reenactments. What an interesting guy!

  15. Carp, hoping that edge is goaltending is the reason we move on!!! I expect Hank to be super human in this round! It’s like his arch nemesis at the other end of the ice!!

  16. E3 (pimp's angel) stay thirsty my freinds on

    Chris Christie on end of a seesaw, Marty on the other…… Pray that the hinge has plenty of grease on it…..

  17. “AdamRotter Has anyone made the joke about bringing Alex Frolov back for this series because he loves the wraparound?”

    dying!!

  18. yikes e3. is there enough reinforced steel in existence for that kinda poundage?

  19. What a game! Rangers were excellent in their zone and took away the middle of the ice, forcing everything to the outside. Challenged the puck carriers and forced tons of mistakes.
    I cannot remember the last time I’ve seen them play that well in their end for an entire game–their puck movement was so fluent at times it looked textbook flawless.

    On their heels for a bit with the lead but didn’t play safe and kept forechecking. Exactly what they needed to do.

    And like game 6 they got at least one player in front of the net at all times (which resulted in the first goal). I cannot stress enough how important it is that this team continue to crash the net, or have at least one body in front. Game 6 was the FIRST game they did it the entire playoffs. You can’t keep cycling with the puck with nobody in front of the net–you just aren’t going to put too many in that way. And this Jersey team can score (albeit Henrik owns Fatso).

    Glad that series is over. Rangers vs Devils with home ice advantage for seven games*!

    *if necessary

  20. E3 (pimp's angel) stay thirsty my freinds on

    During TV timeouts, how many hot dogs does Marty typically eat? More than 5?

  21. ok i notice weird things.. but i started watching the clock count down from 38 seconds… and it NEVER paused like it always does during Rangers games!!

  22. Thanks for the link Greecian. Boyle’s leg does make contact with Holtby. I thought if the puck was loose then it was fair game. Can’t argue though that Boyle does bump him with his leg (although I think the Caps D actually carries the puck into the net with him)

  23. I have a strong feeling mama hasn’t recycled her weekend newspaper yet, ‘heads :-)

  24. Can they make the road any easier? Eight seed- than seven -now six… get by this one and all you’ll have to do is probably beat the eight seed on the other side- weather that storm and you will be the proud owner of a tainted championship- after all, “Who did you beat, anyway?” Won’t stop me from going to the parade. If you missed Barry Melrose’s dissection of the Ovy Loaf on the MDZ goal (slow to rise- slower to change- preventing fresh forward from backchecking on his man (MDZ)- great leadership. Also think Melrose may have lost a few sheckles on the series- maybe to Mrs. Gretzky- he so loved the Caps in this one.

  25. How long as HL’s hand been taped up like that? Saw it on post game interviews and it makes me wonder if he doesn’t lose some dexterity in his catching glove because of it- might explain a couple of those “now I have it, now I don’t” goals off the tip of his glove.

  26. Who’s the only idiot picking Devils in 4 in the new poll? Brodeur?

    Ilb

    Quick question…what are you using again to watch the games when you’re now home? Sling something?

  27. Didn’t look dominant there. Both teams defense, while very mobile, is very prone to buckle under sustained forechecking pressure. This one is far from over yet. In fact, amongst remaining teams, the Rangers defense is far superior, at least on the defensive end.

  28. From all the way back on Wednesday, but some interesting info from Elliotte Friedman’s “30 Thoughts”:

    21. A little insight into the McDonagh trade: Right around the 2009 draft, it’s believed the Canadiens struck out for the second time on Vincent Lecavalier. (There was disagreement in Tampa about whether or not it really made sense to deal him.) Glen Sather saw an opening and let Montreal know Scott Gomez was available. He pointed out, correctly, that there wasn’t much out there and the Canadiens could not go without trying to fill the No. 1 centre position. They were in a weak spot and Sather exploited it.

    22. When Sather realized he had a shot at making the deal, he went to Director of player personnel Gordie Clark and asked, “Who should we get?” Both Clark and assistant GM Jeff Gorton had McDonagh No. 1. The Rangers really liked him going back to the NHL combine of his draft year and always kept an eye on him. (He was taken before New York selected the late Alexei Cherepanov.) Who was No. 2 if Montreal said no? “It never got that far,” Clark said.

    23. Clark explained how the Rangers (and presumably every other team) keep an updated list of about four/five players from all other organizations they’d target in a deal. “We’re not talking about guys like [Steven] Stamkos,” he said. “Everybody wants him. It’s about prospects or lesser-known players. You watch everyone else’s like you watch your own.” That way, when Sather needs an answer, he gets one quickly.

    24. Clark added the Rangers liked McDonagh for the same reason they noticed Chris Kreider and Dylan McIlrath at their comebines. “Physically, it was like men amongst boys,” he said. “You have to be careful to make certain they have the hockey sense to play the way they need to, but they really stood out.”

    25. Totally forgot that Tom Renney helped run the Rangers’ draft from 2001-05. He found some good ones — none better than current captain Ryan Callahan. Renney apparently credits Don Maloney and Jamie McDonald for that pick, and McDonald’s influence is interesting. He took a ton of grief for selecting Mike Richards fourth overall in the OHL draft and saw Callahan in the same mold. “Oozed character and drive,” was part of the report on Callahan.

    26. Jay Beagle lost 10 pounds in the triple overtime Game 3. He said he was doing shots of olive oil and avocado oil the next day to replace some of the “good fat.” Keith Aucoin joked he lost just four pounds “because I only weigh 170.”

    http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/opinion/2012/05/quenneville-uses-leverage-plus-30-thoughts.html

  29. Jorek – I was the one who said it was kicked in. (First!) Based on that NHL.com link that Greecian posted, that referee is an idiot. Boyle’s skate caused goaltender interference?! Yeah, because he was hauled down by the Capital. GARAGE LEAGUE.

  30. shots of olive oil and avocado oil.. wow.. pass

    Great post Spider, interesting to get a glimpse into the inner workings

  31. Kenny Albert Rules! on

    Anyone see marcel hossa coming back in case of a shootout? he owned marty in a few of them.

  32. Will tracking Ovie prep us for tracking kovalchuk? Debs have more two way weapons than caps who won’t wilt under pressure or constant hits but I can’t imagine we won’t score at least a little more. Let’s hope the Debs mini vaca softened them up a bit

  33. Stranger Nation on

    Never had such a good time
    in my life before
    I’d like to have it one time more
    One good ride from start to end
    I’d like to take that ride again
    Again

  34. e3 (pimp's angel) stay thirsty my friends on

    my thoughts on the matchup

    Defense – edge rangers
    Goaltending – edge rangers
    Forwards – edge rangers
    Coaching – edge rangers
    PP – edge rangers
    PK – edge rangers

    Prediction – 4, 5, 6, or 7 games……i dont give a flying byfuglien – rangers win

  35. Hey how about the Russian team gaining Semin and Ovechkin in one day. Pretty good for them!

  36. Stranger Nation on

    E3 my brutha – what is shaking?

    Need some positive vibrations – *Rastamon!*

    Solidarity!!!

  37. e3 (pimp's angel) stay thirsty my friends on

    rangers first goal was a beautiful play…long breakout pass that Richards tips to prevent icing as Hags flies into the offensive zone winning the race…he grabs the puck, skates behind the net….throws a soft pass to Richards and he shoots and scores….

  38. CCCP – It’s free to watch Slingbox on your desktop/laptop computer. I think you don’t even have to download an application now.

  39. CCCP, you buy a Slingbox. You can watch it from anywhere using any computer, as long as you have a broadband connection. However, if you want to watch on your iPhone/iPad you need to buy a separate application for $29.99

  40. e3 (pimp's angel) stay thirsty my friends on

    my brutha S.Nation – the indication, of the publication, in the united nation, of the repudiation, and the consternation, of my reputation, is the indignation of what we need, what we need…solidarity

    boyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  41. Gotta be strange and steamy to be playing hawkey when its 100 degrees outside and pitch black at night

  42. Knocking out the Caps was the best thing we have EVER done for the world. Go Rangers!

    We should be able to handle the Devils pretty easily, right? I mean, Hank is NOT Bryzgalov.

  43. ilb – I’m still using the SlingPlayer application. I’m not even sure if I can use the website version with my Slingbox version. I tried it once, it didn’t work easily, so I gave up. Change is scary. :P

  44. Spider- the iPad app now has a full blown remote, exactly what you see on your computer. I used to hate all these different buttons you had to find first. Pretty good.

  45. Latona, easy. You’re freaking me out. I hate the Devils and I know how humiliating it would be to lose to them. But, honestly, this is not that bad a matchup for us. We SHOULD be OK. That doesn’t mean anything.

  46. Manny – exactly. They might have turned the tables against us after the all star break, but they haven’t faced anyone playing at our level these playoffs

  47. Right on, Fat Guy. Facing us for seven games (maximum) in a row is a lot different than getting up for one game during a season.

    Key to this series: Do *NOT* take stupid penalties. And our PK has to be really aggressive because the Devils give up a lot of shorties (most in the league maybe?).

  48. Im off to the Holy Land in 2.5 weeks, so Ill be missing the Finals. Praying that there will be some good links online so that ill be able to watch the game when it will be 3 a.m. there.

  49. Kings looking good.

    Dustin Brown has to be in the running for the Conn Smythe award .

  50. ilb – I don’t even know anymore. I think it’s the Pro. Whatever it is, I don’t think they make that model/name anymore.

  51. I can’t help it. The Devils are my sworn enemy. I will not rest until they have been eliminated. But I think we do it.

    ilb, I already took care of my Xanax supply.. :)

  52. Guys – see you mañana. I’m gonna go give my wife a slew foot for mothers day and hope that she whistles me for two minutes

  53. Has anyone on here brought up the fact that Lundquist is still in the running for the EA Sports NHL13 Cover? Do you want to see Claude Giroux or Scott Hartnell on the cover of a game every time you bring your kid to the store to get a new video game? This is the kind of popularity vote that is rightfully a popularity vote! lol Voting for the quarterfinal bracket that Lundquist is in starts on the 18th and runs through the 23rd. He’s up against Pekka Rinne. The other vote in his bracket is Datsyuk/Tavares. You can vote on the other bracket right now until the 17th. It’s Giroux/Kopita and Hartnell/Malkin. I don’t care about the other bracket but I’m voting for Kopitar cuz who wants to see that whiny punk Giroux on the cover? I think this should be brought up in every comments section. If nobody else does, I will. I hope that’s ok. don’t want to piss anyone off by reposting this every day. Let me know. But for now, get off your aasens and vote for The King!!! (starting the 18th lol)

  54. E3 (pimp's angel) stay thirsty my freinds on

    Linda – nobody speaks good English (oops, I mean well English) like JR

  55. Fat guy, not too many actually. Never felt so attached to a team like this year. You can be sure that first day I get there im going to the Wall.

    Lin, thanks….a messed up sleep schedule is the least i can do for these guys after the year they’ve given us.

  56. Carp, wont be at the garden till game 5 if there is one. Kids concerts etc…If it goes that far, we should definately get the prime rib sangwich together.

  57. OMG!!!!!
    i have internet access again!!!
    but
    now i’m tired and ready to go to bed.

    btw
    Rangers in 6?!?!?
    Carp
    i don’t know if my heart can take it.

    have a good night and monday everyone.

  58. Blogmama Go Tony!!!! on

    There is a reason ilb is the blog captain! LGR! We win in 5!!!!
    mama must collapse…..Tony sends love….til tomorrow!!!!

  59. c giacomo, no more prime ribs for me … not worth the money. I like the burgers though.

    JR to English tonight said “from the start of the puck.” Anybody have that translation?

  60. Blogmama Go Tony!!!! on

    Carp: JR meant….my trip from England ended with an iced puck…help!

    whatever…..niters all. haahahahaha.

  61. I’m watching “Outlaw Josie Wales” – what a prep for tonight’s game – Rangers in 5.

  62. E3 (pimp's angel) stay thirsty my freinds on

    JR – the urgenciness of the playoffs is very serious

  63. One must never take those scandal mags to heart ..the ones that post in the supermarkets. That story about Hillary and Bill splitting etc. Those mags, all of them simply make this crap up, and spread it around, just to use the sensationalism of their ” scoops”, and they know they can’t be held for it due to celebrity status. I think the attorneys in the blog can explain it better than I can, but the sky is the limit when it comes to dishing out dirt. The Royal family is one of their favorites.

  64. Keys for the Devils: Score 3 or more goals per game (if they can score 4, there’s no way these Rangers are scoring 5 goals in a game to win). Try to get the Rangers to take penalties. Don’t let the Rangers bump Brodeur.

    Keys for the Rangers: Play shutdown defense. Pepper Brodeur with shots; get under his skin. Stay out of the penalty box.

    Prediction: Rangers in 7 (home ice saves the day!). The last three series between these teams have lasted 5, 4, and 5 games. It’s time for another 7 game series.

  65. Not sure I understand the special teams being even. The Devils have the better special teams. They had the best penalty kill in the league during the regular season and 9 of those 12 powerplay goals allowed were in the first round against a red-hot Panther powerplay (#7 in the NHL in the regular season). They stifled the extremely good Flyer powerplay in the 2nd round.

    I don’t know that that’s enough to overcome Lundqvist and the Ranger’s D, but they do have better special teams.

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