by Patrick Hoffman on 05/23/12 at 11:49 PM ET
At the end of the day, it does not matter how many goals you allow as long as you are the team that has more when the final buzzer sounds.
In tonight’s Game 5 between the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden, it was Devils’ forward Ryan Carter’s goal with less than five minutes to go in the hockey game that lifted the Devils to a 5-3 victory. The Devils’ defense may not have been great but in the end, it was their offense that got the crucial goal to give their team a 3-2 series lead.
For the Rangers, it was the things that happened both early and late in the game that hurt them the most. In the first period, the Devils scored three goals on six shots (Stephen Gionta, Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac) to go up 3-0 less than 10 minutes into the hockey game. Then, in the third period, Carter scored the Devils to put them up 4-3 after the Blueshirts had gotten themselves back into the game and that was followed by a Zach Parise empty net goal with 1:32 to go in the hockey game.
Had it not been for those 15-minutes, this could have been a Rangers’ victory. Even when the club was down 3-0, they did not quit and battled hard to tie the game as they got goals from Brandon Prust, Ryan Callahan and Marian Gaborik.
The team was also able to take advantage of a somewhat shaky Martin Brodeur (25 saves) to get back into the hockey game. With that said, Brodeur battled to the end and made the big saves late in the third period when it mattered most and more importantly, he put his team one victory away from a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.
While it is tough to pick on any one player for the Rangers’ who struggled tonight, one cannot help but point out defenseman Michael Del Zotto’s continued struggles. While it is understandable that he is dealing with the effects of losing a family member, some of the giveaways he made tonight were extremely careless and he was also caught way out of position on the Devils’ game winning goal.
One also has to look at Rangers’ netminder Henrik Lundqvist’s (12 saves) play tonight. While the loss cannot be put solely on his shoulders, he definitely should have been able to stop the Devils’ third goal.
So, much like in their first round series against the Ottawa Senators, the Rangers hit the road for Game 6 and head into it down 3-2 in the series. There is no doubt that the Prudential Center will be rocking much like it was in Game 4, especially with their fans knowing that their team is just one win away from heading to the Final for the first time since 2003.
The Rangers will need to find a way to put a complete game together because if they are not able to on Friday night, their magical playoff run just might come to an end.
Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, brandon+prust, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, martin+brodeur, michael+del+zotto, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, patrik+elias, ryan+callahan, ryan+carter, stephen+gionta, travis+zajac
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.