for this game

Rangers top Devils, advance to conference semifinals

Apr 19, 2008 - 4:45 AM
By Joe Rizzo PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEWARK, New Jersey (Ticker) -- The New York Rangers beat the New Jersey Devils in free agency in July, and it made all the difference when the teams met on the ice - with a little help from their goaltender.

Henrik Lundqvist stopped John Madden on a potential game-tying penalty shot with 7:08 left in the third period and former Devil Scott Gomez had a goal and keyed the Rangers' dominance of his former team as New York eliminated New Jersey with a 5-3 victory in Game Five of their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series Friday.

Gomez had three goals and four assists in the series for the Rangers, who advanced to the conference semifinals for the second straight season. With Gomez switching sides, New York mastered New Jersey, winning seven of the eight regular-season meetings and four of five in the playoffs.

"When you get the chance to close it out, you have to jump on it," said Gomez, who played for the Devils from 1999-2007, winning two Stanley Cups. "It doesn't matter who you're playing."

Lundqvist's success in shootouts played a part in the Rangers' success against the Devils during the campaign, and he needed that experience when Madden was awarded a penalty shot in a 4-3 game after he was taken down from behind by defenseman Dan Girardi while on a breakaway.

Madden tried a backhander, but Lundqvist got his left pad on it to preserve the lead.

"I came in, faked a little forehand and went to my backhand - got him to open up," Madden said. "Just as I went to the backhand, (the puck) kind of rolled up and went into his pads. I thought I had him. Of course I thought (about the score). I wish I could have that over. If I score there, it changes the game completely. I was kind of surprised it didn't go in. That's been the story this year."

"We had a lot of shootouts this year," Lundqvist said. "I try to be ready for everything. I just tried to not make the first move."

Defenseman Michal Rozsival, captain Jaromir Jagr, Chris Drury and Brandon Dubinsky also scored for New York, which is now 4-1 in playoff series against New Jersey. The Rangers had not beaten the Devils in the postseason since the 1997 conference semifinals and were swept in the quarterfinals in 2006.

New York never has lost a series in which it built a three-games-to-one advantage, going 12-for-12 - including a five-game win over New Jersey in 1997.

"You could see it," Jagr said. "We took it over today. From the first shift, even though they scored the first goal, I knew we were going to win it. I just knew it. You just had the feeling they didn't have the legs. You could see it - all of a sudden, one team hitting the wall, and it's over if you play smart and don't give them any chances."

Brian Gionta, blue-liner Bryce Salvador and Patrik Elias scored for the Devils, who were trying to become the 21st team in NHL history to rally from a 3-1 deficit. But they were unable to accomplish the feat despite doing so in the 2000 conference finals against the Philadelphia Flyers and are now 1-7 when losing three of the first four games of a playoff series.

It was the fourth straight season in which the Devils fell behind, 3-1, in a series.

"We dug ourselves too big of a hole to come back from," Elias said. "(We made) mistakes again, untimely mistakes. They found a way to win, we found a way to lose."

The Rangers improved to 10-6 in Game Fives that were potential clinchers.

The Devils opened the scoring 4:40 into the game, when Gionta took a feed in the slot from Travis Zajac and one-timed the puck over Lundqvist's glove. But the Rangers tied it just 18 seconds later on a nearly identical goal by Rozsival off a feed from Jagr.

Jagr took advantage of a power play less than two minutes afterward, beating goaltender Martin Brodeur between the pads with a wrist shot from the far edge of the right faceoff circle at 6:38.

Gomez netted his third goal of the series with 1:59 left in the opening period, lifting a loose puck over a prone Brodeur from close range to the left of the netminder to make it 3-1.

"He was playing excellent," Jagr said of Gomez. "It's not easy playing against the team you used to play for. I hate it, and I still do. The booing, the bad energy, it's not easy. It affects you. Even if you say it doesn't, it does. He did a great job. People remember him with New Jersey. He won a lot of stuff (there)."

Sean Avery, whose on-ice tormenting, antics and scoring - as well as his decision not to talk to the media - made him the center of attention, set up the goal by controlling the puck behind the net.

Avery finally broke his silence and addressed a huge media throng after the game. In the traditional post-series handshake, Avery offered his hand to Brodeur, who did not even acknowledge the agitator's presence and proceeded to shake the hand of the next Ranger in line.

The snub was a result of Avery's unsportsmanlike tactics in Game Three, when he repeatedly waved his stick in the face of Brodeur with his back to the play in an attempt to throw the goalie off his game.

"He forgot to shake my hand - I don't know if you saw that," said Avery, who scored a goal in each of the first three games of the series. "I don't really know what goes on outside of when I get to the rink. I've said it a million times - I read Vogue, not the sports pages, so I have really no idea what went on (in the media)."

Drury, the other big-name free agent that joined the Rangers along with Gomez last summer, boosted the lead to 4-1 at 5:35 of the second period, when he took a pass from the left corner by Nigel Dawes and blasted it past Brodeur from the right circle.

The Devils caught a break midway through the second, when Salvador took a slap shot from outside the blue line that hit Dubinsky's glove, deflected off the left goalpost, hit Lundqvist in the back of the right shoulder and trickled into the net to cut the deficit to 4-2. It counted as New Jersey's first shot of the period.

The strategy of shooting in pucks off Rangers continued to work for the Devils as Elias converted a 5-on-3 advantage during a goalmouth scramble by chipping the puck off New York defenseman Fedor Tyutin and by Lundqvist's glove at 13:50 to close the gap to 4-3.

The Rangers then went into a defensive shell as the Devils rushed wave after wave but could not connect for the tying goal, even with the help of the penalty shot. New Jersey outshot New York, 11-3, in the third period.

New York's opponent in the conference semifinals is not determined because the NHL re-seeds after each round. The only remaining team the fifth-seeded Rangers cannot meet in the next round is the Boston Bruins.

"Bring it," Jagr said of the chance to play his former team, the second-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins, who were the first to advance. "I'm ready. They're going to be big favorites, but who cares?"






  • SuketoKetchi The upside about this series. No matter what, a team I hate gets eliminated.

    Rangers 5, Devils 3  FinalApr 19 1:02 AM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY RANGERS 3 1 1 5
    NEW JERSEY 1 2 0 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NJD - BRIAN GIONTA 1 (TRAVIS ZAJAC, DAINIUS ZUBRUS) 4:40
    NYR - MICHAL ROZSIVAL 1 (JAROMIR JAGR) 4:58
    NYR - (PP) JAROMIR JAGR 2 (MARTIN STRAKA, BRANDON DUBINSKY)
    6:38
    NYR - SCOTT GOMEZ 3 (SEAN AVERY, BRENDA

    Apr 18 10:01 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NY RANGERS 5
    NEW JERSEY 3
    3RD PRD: NYR - (EN) BRANDON DUBINSKY 3 (UNASSISTED) 19:00

    Rangers 5, Devils 3  3rd - 1:00Apr 18 9:59 PM
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    Rangers 5, Devils 3  3rd - 1:00Apr 18 9:59 PM
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    Rangers 4, Devils 3  3rd - 2:00Apr 18 9:56 PM
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    Rangers 4, Devils 3  End of 2ndApr 18 9:20 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY RANGERS 3 1 4
    NEW JERSEY 1 2 3 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NJD - BRIAN GIONTA 1 (TRAVIS ZAJAC, DAINIUS ZUBRUS) 4:40
    NYR - MICHAL ROZSIVAL 1 (JAROMIR JAGR) 4:58
    NYR - (PP) JAROMIR JAGR 2 (MARTIN STRAKA, BRANDON DUBINSKY)
    6:38
    NYR - SCOTT GOMEZ 3 (SEAN

    Apr 18 9:09 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NY RANGERS 4
    NEW JERSEY 3
    2ND PRD: NJD - (PP) PATRIK ELIAS 4 (ZACH PARISE, JAMIE LANGENBRUNNER)
    13:50 (TWO-MAN ADVANTAGE)

    Rangers 4, Devils 3  2nd - 6:10Apr 18 8:59 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NY RANGERS 4
    NEW JERSEY 2
    2ND PRD: NJD - BRYCE SALVADOR 1 (UNASSISTED) 9:26

    Rangers 4, Devils 2  2nd - 10:34Apr 18 8:49 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NY RANGERS 4
    NEW JERSEY 1
    2ND PRD: NYR - CHRIS DRURY 2 (NIGEL DAWES, RYAN CALLAHAN) 5:35

    Rangers 4, Devils 1  2nd - 14:25Apr 18 8:40 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY RANGERS 3 3
    NEW JERSEY 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NJD - BRIAN GIONTA 1 (TRAVIS ZAJAC, DAINIUS ZUBRUS) 4:40
    NYR - MICHAL ROZSIVAL 1 (JAROMIR JAGR) 4:58
    NYR - (PP) JAROMIR JAGR 2 (MARTIN STRAKA, BRANDON DUBINSKY)
    6:38
    NYR - SCOTT GOMEZ 3 (SEAN

    Apr 18 8:15 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NY RANGERS 3
    NEW JERSEY 1
    1ST PRD: NYR - SCOTT GOMEZ 3 (SEAN AVERY, BRENDAN SHANAHAN) 18:01

    Rangers 3, Devils 1  1st - 1:59Apr 18 8:11 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NY RANGERS 2
    NEW JERSEY 1
    1ST PRD: NYR - (PP) JAROMIR JAGR 2 (MARTIN STRAKA, BRANDON DUBINSKY)
    6:38

    Rangers 2, Devils 1  1st - 13:22Apr 18 7:52 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NY RANGERS 1
    NEW JERSEY 1
    1ST PRD: NYR - MICHAL ROZSIVAL 1 (JAROMIR JAGR) 4:58

    Rangers 1, Devils 1  1st - 15:02Apr 18 7:50 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NY RANGERS 0
    NEW JERSEY 1
    1ST PRD: NJD - BRIAN GIONTA 1 (TRAVIS ZAJAC, DAINIUS ZUBRUS) 4:40

    Rangers 0, Devils 1  1st - 15:20Apr 18 7:47 PM
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    Rangers vs. DevilsApr 18 6:50 PM
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