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Rivalry Renewed But Same Result as Devils Fall to Rangers 3-1

Posted By Matt Pellicane On Dec 30 2010 @ 1:52 pm In New Jersey Devils | No Comments

The start was different for sure, but the result was just more of the same. 

Although the Devils scored the first goal for the first time in what seems like an eternity, they were unable to hold the lead against the rival New York Rangers as they fell to the Blueshirts 3-1.  The game was a spirited contest, as one would imagine whenever these two teams meet, and the outcome could have gone in the Devils favor if not for an unlucky bounce off of Devils defenseman Andy Greene.  Martin Brodeur was certainly not surprised to see this latest bounce go against the Devils, especially the way this year’s campaign has gone.

“Par for the course this year.  Just another bad goal,” he said.  “Too bad.  But we had plenty of time to come back from that goal and we didn’t.”

After Travis Zajac gave the Devils the lead when he scored off of a goal-mouth scramble, the Devils looked energetic and poised to compete for a win against the Rangers.  That lasted for all of 47 seconds until Brian Boyle scored the tying goal on a shot the Brodeur certainly should have saved.  Brodeur was moving from his left to his right and Boyle’s shot went into the lower left corner of the net, but not before bouncing off the bottom of Brodeur’s glove. 

It looked like a ‘soft’ goal, and it was in some respects.  Brodeur certainly could have caught it with his glove, and he will probably tell you he should have.  However, it is tough to go back in one direction when all of your momentum is taking you in another direction.  Regardless, this goal was just another example of the way the 2010-2011 season has gone for the Devils thus far.

Another question that can be raised from this goal is where did the Devils energy go after Zajac’s goal?  The Devils opened the game with a lot of intensity, and they were relentless on the fore-check which created a host of scoring opportunities.  Yet, after opening the scoring, the Devils allowed the Rangers to tie the game not even a minute later.  For a team that isn’t used to having a lead, experiencing a letdown like that just cannot happen.  When a struggling team has the opportunity to play with a lead, that is something they must pounce on.

Rozsival gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead on a shot that deflected off of Andy Greene and past Brodeur.  Greene was stationed right along the goal line to the left of Brodeur when Rozsival’s shot from just above the right circle struck Greene and beat Brodeur on the short side.  Had the puck not hit Greene, it would have went wide of the net and the outcome could have been different.  However, as Brodeur said, the Devils had chances to score after the fluke goal, but they were not able to beat Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.  Lundqvist deserves a lot of credit as he made 43 saves on the night to improve his career record against the Devils to 21-7.

Brandon Dubinsky added an empty net goal for the Rangers with five seconds to play in the third period to seal the win.

The Devils return to action on Friday when they host the Atlanta Thrashers in a 5:00 p.m. start.  Hopefully the Devils can gain a little confidence heading into 2011 with a win against the team that embarrassed them 7-1 a few weeks ago in Atlanta.  Playing with the same intensity that they did against the Rangers would be the ideal way to start against the Thrashers.  It’s just whether or not the Devils can sustain that energy for a full 60 minutes that is the question.

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