The New Jersey Devils left the New York Rangers shocked and stunned on Tuesday after a thrilling 4-3 come from behind shootout win in front of a lively Prudential Center crowd. It was a gargantuan win for the Devils, who finally wrestled their own demons to defeat a top Eastern Conference foe.
The Devils rallied three times, capped off by a fortuitous bounce that ended up right on the blade of David Clarkson.
Andy Greene was playing in his first game since December 6th and was obviously paying attention to his team while sitting out. The diminutive defender noticed a tendency for the puck to take strange bounces off the end boards when played behind the net on that end of the ice.
“You never know with the partitions. You put it up there and see what happens and it worked out the way it did,” Greene said after the game.
Greene should run out and buy a New Jersey lottery ticket because his gamble paid off. Greene threw the puck behind the net and as he expected it caromed wildly off the boards. A waiting Clarkson beat the stunned Marty Biron to tie the game with under a minute remaining.
This was a game the Devils had to win. Not only did they knock off the top-seeded Rangers, but they kept themselves in a playoff spot. Had the Devils lost, the Toronto Maple Leafs would have supplanted them as the eighth seed.
There are a couple of things that can be taken away from this game. You have to give the Devils credit for their resiliency and poise, especially after falling behind for a third time. Ilya Kovalchuk had just tied the game up late in the third and before the goal could even be announced, the Rangers were celebrating another go-ahead goal. Many teams would have folded in that situation, but not New Jersey. They fought back and earned themselves two crucial points. It showed a ton of character.
Tuesdays triumph was the type of win that may be looked back upon as the moment everything came together for the Devils. Just as the New York Giants win over the Jets is referenced as the starting point for their Super Bowl run. Let’s hope New Jersey is as fortunate as the G-men.
The Devils next game is Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens. Montreal’s playoff hopes are fading faster than a Jersey Shore spray tan in the winter. The Devils must win this game. They can’t afford a let down after the emotional win against New York.
It felt good to finally get a victory over the Rangers, but that’s just one game, there is still a long way to go. How to you feel about the game?
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