Patrick Kane and Chris Kreider give Rangers to 2-0 series lead over Devils
The New York Rangers found themselves down after one period of play against the New Jersey Devils. Despite the score, they had the edge in play. Over the next forty minutes of action, that advantage turned into a chasm the Devils couldn’t cross.
When it was all said and done, New York frustrated New Jersey to another 5-1 victory.
Thanks to another monster game from Chris Kreider and a vintage performance from Patrick Kane, the Rangers have a 2-0 lead in this best of seven series.
“That’s exactly what we wanted to do,” Gerard Gallant said. “The ten goals are nice but to play the defense the way we played, that’s what it’s going to take in the playoffs. It’s nice coming out of [New Jersey] 2-0 (in the series) but we know it’s far from over. We’ve been in this situation before and you have to take it one game at a time.”
Chris Kreider and Patrick Kane lead Rangers
The Devils grabbed their first lead in the series when Erik Haula found a loose puck behind Igor Shesterkin for a power play goal 11:44 into the the first period.
New York appeared unfazed and continued to stay in their structure allowing Shesterkin to have clear sight of shots. The Rangers’ top netminder finished the contest with 22 saves.
New Jersey came out with a strong push to start the second, but the Blueshirts maintained their defensive composure. The Devils’ frustration was becoming more evident with each passing minute and the Rangers took advantage of it.
Starting at the 5:53 mark, the ice tilted and never equalized again.
Vladimir Tarasenko got the ball rolling for the Rangers with a wicked wrist shot from the point using Vincent Trocheck as a screen. Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren picked up the assists on the play.
From there, the Rangers poured it on thanks to two more veterans in Kreider and Kane.
With Miles Wood off for slashing, Kreider would register a power play goal by tipping a perfect Kane point shot at 9:57. Mika Zibanejad recorded his first playoff point with a helper.
The duo hooked up again, this time with Timo Meier in the box for holding Zibanejad.
It began with Fox getting the puck over to Kane, who opened up a lane to send a shot wide of the net for Kreider to redirect. With the tally, he became the first NHL player in NHL history to net four goals on the man advantage in a team’s first two playoff games.
“Good players finding lanes and finding the open guy (on the power play). I just happened to be the open guy a few times,” Kreider said.
New York came into the third up 3-1 and refused to take their foot off the gas.
On the same day that Kane talked about expecting more from himself, he went out and scored a vintage ‘Showtime’ beauty.
Stripping Jesper Bratt of the puck, he tracked it down in the Devils zone and had every defender thinking pass to Kreider on the odd man rush. Instead, Kane used his incredible stick handling skills to come in tight and go top shelf over Vitek Vanecek’s glove.
“I was looking to pass it to him but they took it away,” Kane explained. “I thought I was passive trying to play a safe game for the playoffs. But Gallant was good on the bench about us wanting to make plays.”
Kaapo Kakko would remind the Devils that the veterans weren’t the only threat in this series by scoring an authoritative goal at the 13:05 mark assisted by Filip Chytil and Niko Mikkola.
Things only got chippy from there with an angry Devils team taking liberties and the Rangers responding. Ultimately, 10 misconducts were dished out (5 for each team) totaling up the penalty minutes to 136.
The Rangers head to Madison Square Garden looking to grab a 3-0 series lead on Saturday night.
“As a whole, I don’t think we’re giving up too many odd man rushes and that bodes well for us,” Trouba noted. “We play our game and over the course of 60 minutes we feel we’ll score enough goals.”