Kukla's Korner Hockey
from The Record,
“I feel we have a good enough team to do it,” Jagr said of the possibility of the Rangers winning their first Stanley Cup since 1994. “I’m not guaranteeing anything but we’re capable to fight for it. I still believe we can play better than we did in the first two games. I’ll say it over and over, we have to make more plays.”
“I understand sometimes you have to chip the puck in,” the Rangers captain added. “But you have to have a little faith sometimes and play with a little more confidence.”
And, no doubt, this gets to the root of why Jagr has been so coy about re-signing with the Rangers after this playoff run is over. The Czech superstar is 36 and coming off a regular season in which he scored a career-low 25 goals.
Even if he does not return to Europe to play next season, he knows his time in the NHL is dwindling. He likely wants one more chance to be the free-wheeling Jagr of old and that does not mesh with Rangers coach Tom Renney’s measured — and successful — style of play.
from Stan Fischler at Game On,
The cows are coming home—but what can the Devils do about it? Well, they can moan ‘til the cows come home about bad breaks and questionable, late-third period officiating in Game 2, but when all is said and done, the Rangers come to The Garden Sunday night seeking a three-game series lead; and for good reason.
Namely, Opportunism—with a capital O.
from Lynn Zinser of the New York Times,
Heading into Game 2 on Friday night, the Rangers assume Brodeur will bounce back from his unraveling, letting a puck sit free in the crease long enough so Ryan Callahan could come from behind the net to score.
But Lundqvist does not need to think about bouncing back. Game 1 was a continuation of a strong finish after a midseason swoon. In his last 14 regular-season games, he allowed more than two goals only three times and never allowed more than three.
from Tom Gulitti at Fire & Ice,
“We’ve got to find ways to score,” Devils coach Brent Sutter said. “We had opportunites and didn’t capitalize. I’m not making excuses whatsoever. We hit some posts. We hit the crossbar. We had two quality scoring chances I can think of where we just flat out missed the net. At that point, you give yourself zero percent chance of scoring when you don’t hit the net.
“Through the year we’ve always found ways to get through. Yet, again it’s a 1-1 game. That’s more concerning than the fact that we didn’t score more goals than that. It’s 1-1 with (12 1/2) minutes left and we can’t make the mistakes that we made down the stretch. That to me is more of a concern than the fact that we never got that second goal because we still have a chance to win the game when it’s 1-1. You’ve got to find a way to prevail not to break.”
from Lynn Zinser of Slap Shot at the NY Times,
Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist said he loved hearing seeing the chunks of blue in an arena that should have been a sea of red. After some of his most spectacular saves, those Rangers fans started chanting, “Hen-rik, Hen-rik” as they do frequently at Madison Square Garden.
“It feels good to have that support on the road,” Lundqvist said. “It takes out a little energy out of the building for them. It’s great for us. It will play a part. We love our fans and the support they show us. You almost have to look up to realize you are on the road playing.”
from Fire & Ice,
[Jamie Langenbrunner] had on his official “Rock Your Red” T-shirt for this morning’s media availability at The Rock following a team meeting and did several television interviews with it on. “I’m Rockin the Red,” he said, though he had to endure some ribbing from his teammates.
More than one player expressed displeasure that fans have to buy the T-Shirts and won’t be get them for free at the game tonight. Their first concern, obviously, is with gettign ready for the Rangers tonight. All of them, including the coach, were itching for the puck to drop.
“I’m anxious to get going,” Sutter said. “I wish this game would have been played last night, our first game. I’m like everybody on the team, just anxious to get it started. You go through a whole season, an 82-game season, and there’s ups and downs, peaks and valleys, to set yourself up to play playoff hockey and we’re there now and I’m excited about it, anxious to get it going and I’m excited for the players. That’s what it’s all about.”
more on the Devils…
from Mark Everson of the NY Post,
The Devils would not divulge the strategy, but its mere existence could set Lundqvist and the Rangers wondering and worrying, with New Jersey hoping to turn those thoughts into doubt.
“We’ve watched a lot and talked a lot,” said Zach Parise, the Devils’ leading gunner for the second straight season.
“You target what you see, and maybe you know a little bit about his tendencies. But I’m not telling him where I’m shooting,” said Brian Gionta, the Devils’ single-season record holder in goals.
from Mark Everson of the NY Post,
After all this, three Cups, seven Atlantic titles, and yet another finish above their unneighborly neighbors, the Devils New Jersey Devils enter the fifth Battle of the Hudson still Strangers in a Ranger land, even in their own home, by their own admission.
“It’s weird living here,” Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner Jamie Langenbrunner told The Post. “You have all these people in New Jersey that are Rangers New York Rangers fans. And you have the Devils fans.
“It’s like we’re the ugly stepchild team and they’re the glamour.”
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
But now, two years later, beginning on Wednesday, Jagr will get a second chance at the Devils.
Yes, the conflict between Henrik Lundqvist and Martin Brodeur will be fascinating. And yes, there will be delicious subplots featuring Gomez, Sean Avery, Zach Parise and Patrik Elias, whose shootout goal was decisive in his team’s 3-2 victory over the Blueshirts at the Rock yesterday that gave the Devils first-round home-ice.
Still, the outcome of this series between this matched set of flawed opponents is almost certainly going to be determined by whether Jagr can dominate the Devils over seven games, the way he dominated for shifts at a time while logging 24:12 yesterday while skating on lines with both Gomez and Brandon Dubinsky.
Coach Sutter was not a happy man after the Devils loss last night.. from Fire & Ice, .
“We didn’t do anything tonight. We were terrible. That’s what happens when you don’t prepare to play a game that’s meaningful and every game at this level is meaningful. It shows the difference in preparation right there tonight. They were prepared to play and you have a team that’s not focused to play. You go through things with them and talk to them to you blue and red in the face.
“Tonight was a lack of professionalism on our hockey team’s part. If anybody wants to tell you different, they’re liars. That’s about all. Thanks guys.”
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