Well that didn’t go exactly as we had hoped. I wasn’t 100% confident that we could go in there and win Game 1 but I did think that we would have generated a little more offense than we did. We knew the Rangers do a great job at blocking shots but even though we knew it, it’s still so frustrating to see. I’m not going to take anything away from Lundqvist, he is a good goalie but if the guys in front of him aren’t blocking so many shots, how good is he? I’d like to pepper him with rubber so that we can find the answer to that question.
The reality is that the Devils gave themselves a chance after the first two periods but somewhere between the end of the 2nd and the beginning of the 3rd the team got sloppy. After a 0-0 tie through 2, I was worried that 1 mistake was going to result in the winner and the Devils made the mistake. They forgot about Girardi who came off the bench and just fired home a slapper from the blue line. After that, the wheels just kind of came off.
It’s just 1 game. We made some mistakes, we have things to fix but it’s just 1 game. We’ve been down a game in the playoffs before and have always responded well. I think DeBoer will make the right adjustments needed to get the Devils back into this.
Some more quick thoughts:
- Zidlicky has to get his head in the game. He was an important part of the first two series but last night I saw him make mistake after mistake. I’d even say the same about Salvador.
- The ice conditions were bad. There isn’t much more to say than that. Hopefully NJ can figure out a way to deal with it because I can’t imagine it improves drastically for game 2.
- Patrik Elias took a puck to the face in the first period and his nose got busted open. He opted to stay on the bench, have gauze sticks jammed up his nose to stop the bleeding and get back out on the ice. Tough as nails. It’s a shame we couldn’t find a way to fight like that on the ice.
- Kovalchuk had three shot on net last night, including what was likely Lundqvist's biggest stop of the night. However, I can’t say that Kovalchuk had a great game when he missed the net six times. Need more from him at this time of year.
- I felt that the Devils were trying to rush things a bit and the ice conditions made the rushing really sloppy. Pucks were bouncing over sticks, passes weren’t being completed. Trying to push the tempo of the game is fine but you need to control the puck first. Don’t think you can keep a puck along the boards in the zone with just your stick, get your whole body in front of it.
- The Devils held Brad Richards to 0 shots on net tonight and remember, he’s the guy who was leading the postseason in shots on net so that's is definitely something to build on. Gaborik had four shots but none of them found twine so that is a positive as well. Girardi got lucky and I’ll give him that shot a 1000 more times.
- The Rangers iced the puck so much last night it’s a shame NJ couldn’t capitalize on it. Zajac went 11-21 in the faceoff circle while Elias and Henrique both wen 5-15. Losing the faceoff battle never helps a team win a game.
- The Devils need to get more pucks on Lundqvist. Parise and Kovy led the team in shots on net in Game 1 but they didn’t get a lot there. We need more from Elias, Clarkson, Zubrus, Henrique, etc.
The bottom line is a 3-0 loss to the hatred Rangers is never a good feeling and I think today will be full of feeling crappy and putting up with gloating Rangers fans who are acting like the Canyon of Heroes parade is this afternoon (I came into work to find doughnuts in the kitchen because of the win) but it’s not the end of the world. There is a lot more hockey to be played. So until tomorrow when we can right this ship, hang in there Devils fans!!