After opening puck drop, the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils ground their way through Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Through one period the teams had combined for 14 shots and two zeroes on the scoreboard, and despite the Devils getting outshot 18-17 through two periods they kept the pressure on the Rangers in the second. Things shifted early in the third though, as Dan Girardi was fed the puck for a one-timer from the blueline that found it’s way to the back of the net for a 1-0 Ranger lead. A little later Girardi was at it again, feeding Artem Anisimov who sent in Chris Kreider to score his third of the playoffs to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead. With the Devils pulling Martin Brodeur with over a minute-and-a-half left, New York was able to add the 3-0 goal off the stick of Anisimov. The shutout was Henrik Lundqvist’s second of the playoffs and first since Game 3 vs. Ottawa. Girardi, Anisimov and Kreider all finished with a goal and an assist as the Rangers took a 1-0 series lead.
Devils 0 vs Rangers 3 – Rangers lead series 1-0
What’s on Tonight?
The Los Angeles Kings look to send things back home with a 2-0 series lead while the Phoenix Coyotes are hoping to tie things up at one game apiece. The game goes at 9pm Eastern in Phoenix.
The Injury Bug:
-Kings’ forward Simon Gagne has been cleared for contact following his recovery from a concussion, but whether or not he plays in the playoffs is still up in the air. He will not be in the lineup for Game 2.
-The Coyotes’ Adrian Aucoin is officially listed as questionable for the second game of their series with the Kings.
News and Notes
-Despite leading the Capitals to within a win of the Eastern Conference Final, Dale Hunter will not be back as coach. Hunter was only signed to a one-year deal when he took over behind the Caps bench and informed George McPhee that his one year would be his only year.
-The Columbus Blue Jackets have convinced their Head Coach to stick around though. Todd Richards, who was named the interim coach partway through the season, has been offered a two-year contract by the Blue Jackets.
-Nikita Filatov’s hockey career will continue, but in Russia. After leaving the Ottawa Senators organization partway through the season and spending the rest in Russia, Filatov has reportedly come to an agreement on a one-year contract with Salavat Yulaev of the KHL.
-The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens continue to talk about a shift between franchises for Rick Dudley, but the Leafs will be placing a condition on any possible move. Word is that the Leafs might allow Dudley to move to the rival Canadiens at the end of the month, so long as he does not participate in any draft activities with Montreal.
1. Henrik Lundqvist, G: 21/21, W, SHO
2. Dan Girardi, D: 1 G, 1 A, 1 GWG, +2, 25:11 TOI
3. Chris Kreider, F: 1 G. 1 A, 1 PPG, +1