Kukla's Korner

Goal Line Report

Heads or Tails?

That is what this Eastern Conference Finals series is between the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils because picking which team will advance to the Stanley Cup Final is like flipping a coin.

On one side, you have the No. 1 seed Blueshirts. These Rangers work hard, block a lot of shots, play physical, get great goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist and yet, have not been able to take control of a series for three straight rounds.

On the other side, you have the No. 6 seed Devils. These Devils have speed, know how to put a net front presence in front of Lundqvist, have many two-way players, and have a future hall of fame netminder in Martin Brodeur.

This is why it makes perfect sense that heading into this afternoon’s Game 3 at the Prudential Center, this series is tied up. In Game 1, the Blueshirts rode a three goal third period and the perfect goaltending of Lundqvist to a 3—0 shutout. In Game 2, the Devils fought hard all game long, used deflections to beat Lundqvist and got great goaltending from Brodeur.

For the Rangers to win this game, a number of things need to happen. For starters, the Blueshirts need offense. Guys like Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards, and Ryan Callahan need to start scoring like they did in the regular season.

Secondly, the team needs to do a better job of picking up Devils’ in front of the net. The team allowed two guys to stand in front of the net in Game 2 and deflect pucks by Lundqvist.

Lastly, and while it is good to hold guys accountable for things they did wrong on the ice, the team cannot afford to go without one of their offensive superstars for long periods of time. This happened on Wednesday night when team head coach John Tortorella benched Gaborik for much of the third period.

This series can go either way and given the way the postseason has gone for the Blueshirts, that sounds about right, doesn’t it?

Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, brad+richards, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, martin+brodeur, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, ryan+callahan

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The Devils are rolling 4 lines and 6 D and the Rangers are using a short bench.  No team has ever won a Conference final after playing 14 games in the first 2 rounds.  Advantage Devils.

Posted by PTC from South Jersey on 05/19/12 at 12:11 PM ET

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About Goal Line Report

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 patrickhoffman3530@gmail.com.