Game 4 – Devils rally falls short, Rangers on brink of advancing
The Rangers inched closer to advancing to the East conference final by defeating the Devils 5-4 at Madison Square Garden, the third straight victory over their 2nd-round opponent. New York jetted out to a 4-1 1st period lead but New Jersey climbed back into the game and made it 5-4 New York when Mark Jankowski scored with 29 seconds left to play. The Rangers defense stood tall to keep the Devils from leveling in the final seconds.
Jonathan Bernier suffered through a second night of poor goal tending, allowing 4 of the Rangers scores in 32 minutes and was replaced again by Jiri Patera who stopped 16 of 17 shots by New York. Bernier’s game has officially fallen part after stepping in for starter MacKenzie Blackwood in the 1st round.
Game 3 – Rangers blast Devils to take control of series
Sammy Blais scored two goals, Igor Shesterkin made 28 saves, and the Rangers powered past the New Jersey Devils 7-1 in their return to home ice. New Jersey struck first when Jesper Bratt scored in the first 2 minutes. That was the only bright spot for the Devils. The Rangers took control from there and never looked back.
It was a disastrous night for goalie Jonathan Bernier who stopped 12 of 18 shots and was replaced after 33 minutes in the crease. Backup Jiri Patera finished the game and allowed a goal while making 15 saves.
Game 2 – Radulov scores in OT to even series
Alexander Radulov strikes again. Minutes into overtime, Radulov launched a slap shot from distance and beat Jonathan Bernier inside the left post, giving the Rangers a 3-2 victory over the Devils and evening the series 1-1. It was Radulov’s 5th playoffs goal.
New Jersey had taken a 1-0 lead in the 1st period before surrendering two goals to New York in the middle frame. The Devils then survived several penalties including a 5-on-3 to keep the Rangers from expanding their lead. After returning to even strength, Mark Jankowski scored with 5 minutes remaining in the 3rd period to tie the game 2-2 which went to overtime. Four minute into OT, Radulov ended it.
Game 1 – New Jersey looks strong in the opener
The New York Rangers were riding high after closing out their 1st round opponent in 5 games, but New Jersey knocked the Rangers off their horse with a 4-2 win in the 2nd round series opener at Prudential Center.
Nico Hischier scored 5:30 into the 3rd period to give the Devils a 3-1 lead. Ryan Graves added a 4th goal late in the 3rd frame to provide some insurance. Jack Hughes assisted on two NJ goals. Artemi Panarin and Filip Chytil scored for the Rangers.
New Jersey Devils: By the numbers
Defense — In the regular season, New Jersey led the league in scoring, average 3.50 GPG and surrendered 2.74 GAPG (6th). Former #1 pick Jack Hughes will lead the Hurricane’s offense. Hughes scored a team-sign 76 points and led in assists (48). Winger Tomas Tatar scored 29 regular season goals, followed by Hughes (28). Ryan Hartman was tied 9th in the league in amassing penalty minutes (79).
Goaltending — Mackenzie Blackwood was among the league’s best with a 2.77 GAA in the regular season, but McKenzie was knocked out of the playoffs after 2 games with a torn hamstring. Jonathan Bernier (4-0-0, 1.27 GAA) will be tasked with defended the net against Rangers attackers.
Special Teams — (regular season) Power play: 18.1% (3rd), Penalty Kill: 83.9% (4th)