Latest posts by Mike Valvano (see all)
- As Sellers, Rangers Must be Patient and Embrace the Rebuild - 02/07/2018
- An Alternative, Youthful, Trade Deadline Approach - 01/25/2018
- Hayes Excels in New Role as Shutdown C with Upside - 01/19/2018
|NYR @ NJD
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In just a few years, the Metropolitan rivalry has faded as the Rangers’ and Devils’ trajectories have sped in opposite directions. For the Rangers (93 points), the playoffs are imminent while the Devils (64 points) find themselves in last place in the Eastern Conference. It took Tuesday night’s matchup 35 minutes to find its soul but, in the end, it had the classic rivalry feel. While the geographic distance between the teams is narrower than their positions in the standings, the game rang true to the rivalry and New Jersey needed overtime for the 3-2 win.
Through nearly two periods, the scoreline was as flat as the rivalry has been in recent years and the echo of the puck was louder than the crowd. But the last five minutes of play saw three goals in a span of 3:06 and a scrum befitting of the series’ traditional narrative, with Jimmy Vesey dropping the gloves. After all was said and done, it was 2-1 Devils with the Rangers’ fourth line registering the squad’s only goal before the third period.
As much as the final five minutes of the second period mimicked the traditional rivalry, the first five minutes of the third mimicked the standings as the Rangers outshot the Devils 9-1 and scored on Rick Nash’s power play goal just 1:21 into the period.
But, despite the decisive edge in play, the Blueshirts couldn’t beat Cory Schneider, who was 0-6-2 in his last eight decisions, for the lead. Joseph Blandisi scored in overtime and New Jersey took the 3-2 win, spoiling New York’s chance at the season sweep.
To their credit, the Rangers, with nothing to really play for, put together an inspired effort throughout the final stanza and deserved a win. The ice was tilted in their favor throughout as they owned a 16-6 shot advantage in the period and 40-29 advantage overall.
The Blueshirts complete their season series against the Islanders tomorrow night at MSG.
Tonight was MSG’s Garden of Dreams Fundraiser; The Rangers finished the season 3-0-1 against the Devils; Opponents have scored power play goals in seven straight; Brady Skjei now has 30 assists; Antti Raanta finished with 26 saves; New York was 5-0 in games decided in overtime entering the contest.