I too often get caught up in the heat of the moment, especially when the Rangers are involved. And this series is the type of series that is almost as frustrating to watch, as it is to predict. If you ask most people who watched the game on Saturday, they would agree that New Jersey played a heck of a game and deserved a better fate.
I would argue that the same thing could be said about game 1, but in both situations Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist was the biggest difference. He earned shutouts in both games and no one can take that away from him or his team. In fact, I find myself enamored by just how marvelous King Henry can be at times.
Now, with all that said I still believe New Jersey could easily be up in this series if a few breaks went they other way or if Lundqvist had been human for just a split second. Unfortunately, this is playoff hockey and things are not always that cut and dry. Who am I kidding? They are NEVER that cut and dry.
I will not say any disparaging comments about the Rangers, the players or the fans. I think they are a great franchise, an Original 6 franchise, and I will always respect them as such. But, the reality is this is a Devils blog and I am a Devils fan first and foremost. That’s why I have put together a short list of 5 reasons why I believe New Jersey should and will win this series.
So here goes….
1. The Devils did not have a representative in the All-Star game, Adam Henrique was nominated for an NHL award but is unlikely to win, yet here they are just three wins from another trip the Stanley Cup Finals. Everybody loves a good story and that is a great story.
2. Rangers coach John Tortorella is a disgrace to the New York franchise. His behavior after a win or loss is despicable and the nonsense he comes up with is an insult to the intelligence of league officials and hockey fans everywhere. He does not deserve the accolades associated with leading the Rangers to a Stanley Cup.
3. Despite three Stanley Cups, five Conference Final appearances, not to mention win after win after win, there is still not an expert out there that truly believes in the Devils. In fact, the style they play is still mislabeled on a regular basis and many truly ignorant analysts still use the word “trap” in the same sentence as “New Jersey Devils.” Nothing would said “I told you so” better than to be the team that takes out the media’s favorite team.
4. Martin Brodeur and Patrik Elias are about as well-respected around the league as any NHL veteran. (Yet, Tortorella took jabs as Elias’ play, go figure.) It may be harder then you might think to find another player in the league that wouldn’t be happy to see those two guys with one more crack at the Cup.
5. The Los Angeles Kings look like a real threat to win the franchises’ first Stanley Cup. L.A. general manager Dean Lombardi was mentored by Devils GM Lou Lamoriello. Lombardi credits Lou with teaching him how to build a winning team from top to bottom. It’s obvious Lombardi listened intently and soaked all the knowledge in because the Kings are the real deal and could be that way for years. It would be nice to see the Master face his apprentice in a truly memorable head-to-head battle.
I don’t know where the series goes from here. I think the Devils will have to keep doing more of the same and the results will come. The bottom line will always be the same…you can’t win if you don’t score. If the Devils can get to Lundqvist early, I like them to take game 4 on Monday night. If for no other reason than I think they deserve to win.
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