Not because the Rangers are ahead of them in standings or talent level, but because the Devils seemed to get every single break. The Rangers suffered a 3-2 loss that is very difficult to take considering their battle level and the chances they had. Yes, the Rangers were 0-for-5 on the power play and the defense made a couple of fatal mistakes, but this rivalry game was theirs for the taking and they knew it.
Two of the three Devils goals were a result of a fortuitous bounce off a Rangers players’ skate. The Rangers could have easily had at least two extra goals if not for quick whistles by the officials. What’s worse, the Rangers’ effort was there throughout the majority of the game, and it still wasn’t enough. The effort especially picked up following the Devils’ goals, which shows a no-quit mentality in the team.
Credit has to be given to Martin Brodeur, who played a fantastic game in goal for the Devils. But, it is also important to remember that the Rangers’ power play was the worst it had looked all season, and the Rangers allowed a brutal goal late in the second. Dan Girardi and Carl Hagelin defended the Devils’ Ryan Carter nonchalantly, allowing him to walk into their zone. Henrik Lundqvist subsequently allowed a soft goal on Carter’s bad angle shot to make it 2-1 shortly before intermission.
Still, the Rangers did enough good things in this game to warrant a victory at home against an arch-rival, and should not get too discouraged. The mistakes they made were correctable and they have to remember that losses will happen as a result of bad bounces. Still, it is lamentably a lost opportunity in which the Devils pulled out a win that easily could have gone the other way.