The New Jersey Devils defeated the New York Rangers in a close 1-0 game to win their fifth straight contest. Martin Brodeur was solid in net and David Clarkson scored the lone goal of the game. New Jersey racked up points 64 and 65 tonight, inching closer to the top of the Eastern Conference.
Not often are hockey fans treated to the opening that this game saw. Two seconds into the game at 19:58, Brandon Prust and Mike Rupp, both of the New York Rangers, and Eric Boulton along with Cam Janssen, both of the New Jersey Devils, dropped the gloves. The game took a physical turn early, and Devils forward David Clarkson said during his first intermission interview that the scrap “set the tone” for the Devils in the first period. Both teams played superb in the first period. The Devils were skating well and connecting passes that lead to some opportunities. Clarkson scored the first (and only) goal of the game at 8:14 into the period on a beautiful pass from Zach Parise on the power play. Patrik Elias also recorded an assist on the goal. Clarkson, who scored the game-tying goal last week against the Rangers, skated into the slot in front of Henrik Lundqvist and buried the puck in the back of the net. New Jersey dominated the game offensively at the intermission, leading the Rangers in shots on goal by a tally of 11-9.
The second period started off much like the first–both teams were playing exceptional hockey and skating well. However, momentum began to shift in favor of the Rangers towards the middle of the period. New York failed to capitalize on a number of scoring opportunities as Martin Brodeur stood tall in net. New Jersey managed to stay out of the penalty box in the second period, which cut down on the number of chances that the Rangers had. The Devils went into the second intermission still commanding the shots on goal category by a mark of 21-15. After forty minutes of play, the Devils continued to hold a 1-0 lead over their division rivals.
As all Devils fans know, the third period has been New Jersey’s weak spot this season. The Devils had a near breakdown over the weekend in Philadelphia, allowing four goals in just twenty minutes before prevailing with a 6-4 win. Such has been the case all season. This third period was no different. The Devils started off sloppy and seemed to lack the energy that they possessed in the first two periods. A quick timeout by head coach Peter DeBoer turned things aroung, however, and the Devils regained some of their energy. The Devils played conservatively in the third period; New York dominated the shots on goal tally in the third, 15-1. Again, New York failed to capitalize on several key scoring chances. After going 0-2 on the power play in the first, the Rangers missed an additional power play chance when Bryce Salvador was called for interference at 11:50. The game took an interesting turn in the last minute, however. With the net empty, the Rangers tried for one last push. With three seconds left, the Rangers appeared to have tied the game at one. However, the goal was waved off due to goaltender interference. Marion Gaborik was called for the penalty and Rangers coach John Tortorella was infuriated with the call. The play was not reviewed and the call on the ice stood. The following faceoff was won back by the Devils as time expired.
Martin Brodeur collected shutout number 117 of his career and his first at Madison Square Garden since 2010. David Clarkson was awarded first star of the game. The Devils have now won five straight and collected 10 out of 10 possible points in those five games. New Jersey has outscored their opponent 21-12 in those five games, as well. New Jersey looks to continue their hot streak on Thursday night at the Prudential Center as they take on the Saint Louis Blues. The Pittsburgh Penguins lost to the Montreal Canadiens in a shootout this evening; therefore, the Devils will move into the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, although tied with the Penguins at 65 points.