The New York Rangers, after breaking their three game losing streak by defeating the Washington Capitals Wednesday evening, looked to carry their new found confidence into New Jersey to defeat a team who had yet to win this season, the New Jersey Devils. This fierce rivalry has showcased many spectacular moments and New York was hoping duplicate some of those moments against a Devils team that still hasn’t put a complete game together.
Key injuries to the Rangers stars Rick Nash and Ryan Callahan have put all of the goal scoring pressure on Brad Richards and Derek Stepan, and evidently neither are capable of anchoring a line after watching tonight’s performance. Though Richards has, at times, looked more confident with the puck in terms of his decision making and shooting, the Devils used their fourth line tonight on Richards to keep him in check; no pun intended.
With no offensive firepower for the Rangers, the Power Play unit looked more like a Penalty Kill simply because they were chasing pucks and preventing counter-attacks on their two of three chances — the other coming with less than 10 seconds to go. New York looked incapable of maintaining any sort of offense in the attacking zone and despite not giving the puck up on too many occasions, the Devils did manage to take it away… A lot.
With the offense a no show, all of the pressure falls on Henrik Lundqvist to keep the Rangers in close games and tonight he could not keep it close. The Rangers will have to do a better job of clearing the front of the net if they are going to allow teams to handle the puck in their own side of the ice all game long.
The box score will show that the Devils defeated the Rangers 4-0 tonight with veteran goaltender Martin Brodeur taking the night off. Yes, Cory Schneider was able to shut out the Rangers, but in reality, he didn’t really have to work for it. There was no fire, intensity or sense of urgency on display from the Rangers tonight and as a result the Devils are no longer the only team in the NHL without a victory.
Come to think of it, there wasn’t a whole lot of anything on display tonight.