The second round of the NHL playoffs is set, as the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers both advanced last night thanks to the work of their goaltenders, with special kudos going out to New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur, as the 39-year old netminder stopped 43 shots in a double-overtime win in Florida. TheSportsNotebook recaps both games…
New Jersey 3 Florida 2 (2OT): The Devils seemed in control of this game, with a goal in each of the first two periods and ahead 2-0. Even though forwards Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk weren’t a part of either goal, both were active on the offensive end, as the two combined for 11 shots and I’m coming around to the idea that as long as your big guns are getting shots there will be residual benefit somewhere in the offense. The Devils’ s defense had protected Brodeur, allowing just 14 shots through two periods. Then Florida came out charging with the desperation appropriate to a Game 7 on their home ice. Brodeur was pummeled with 19 shots in the final period alone and when the Panthers got two power play chances, they made them count. The latter came with less than four minutes to play. Brodeur would stop ten more shots in the overtime-plus period and eventually New Jersey snuck the puck to the back of the net.
NY Rangers 2 Ottawa 1: A quiet first period surely had the denizens of Madison Square Garden nervous, but the Rangers scored twice in the first ten minutes of the second period, getting six players involved in the scoring, between the assists and goals. Ottawa’s Daniel Alfredsson did everything he could to ward off defeat—he got six shots and one of them on the power play lit the lamp before the second period was out. But both team defenses were good, with the offenses held under 30 shots, and both goalies were solid. Henrik Lundqvist turned back Alfredsson and the Senators to hold on for the Game 7 win. A big area of concern for the Rangers is that the key parts of their offense are not getting shots. Marian Gaborik was again a non-factor, as he was most of the series and Ryan Callahan only got two shots. New York is not going to win a Stanley Cup if Chris Kreider is shooting the most, as he did last night. That’s why New York barely survived a vastly inferior Ottawa team, and what desperately needs to change if they’re going to win their first Cup since 1994.
The second round starts tonight with Nashville-Phoenix in the Western Conference, and you can read their series preview here.