The New Jersey Devils played the same kind of game, but with a different and well deserved result. The Devils won 4-1 over the New York Rangers, tying their series at 2 games apiece and splitting the difference on their homestead. Zach Parise came alive for his team with 2 of the goals, including an empty netter in the third, picked up an assist and helped lift his team in a crucial game.
Brodeur played to form and beyond. More remarkable than his saves, of which he had a few good ones, was his ability to stay calm in a game that became increasingly heated and not retaliate after taking a cheap shot to the chin by Mike Rupp. If there’s a definition for cheap shots, that clip is probably good enough.
Mad at taking a charging penalty behind the net, Rupp decided to go for broke by giving a freebie to Brodeur on his way off the ice. He cost his team a 4 minute major and was asked to leave the game. Brodeur got the last laugh with an assist on the empty net goal to put this game in the bag. He may have taken an unexpected bonk, but it’s New York that takes one in the chin in this game.
New Jersey was once again the better team on the ice, but not for the entire 60 minutes. While they got off to a great start in the first period, moving fast and furious in the zone, and coming out on top with 2 goals, both teams sagged in the second. Frankly, the neutral zone play for both sides was terrible and neither team had their systems working. New York was not able to get its defense together to collapse in front of Lundqvist, and New Jersey’s cycle game in the second period stalled.
What didn’t stall was the amount of extra curriculars. Few calls were made, despite what the score sheet may say, as players continuously took sticks to the face and late hits. A few fights also occurred along the way, with Kovalchuk looking angrier than anyone has seen in a long time. Del Zotto and Ponikarovksy also got an early ticket to the locker room with 18 seconds left for jawing at each other in front of the Devils bench.
The reffing has been mostly absent from this series, so it’s no wonder that all of this stuff just happens. The refs have allowed the frustration level to increase in this series and the temperature is just beginning to rise. The two coaches, who have made no secret of their lack of love for each other, are also looking close to popping. When the series returns for game 5 in New York City on Wednesday, there will likely be fireworks- and not necessarily of the victory kind.
About the Author
Written by Mika Oehling
Office worker and sports nerd. Cannot play a professional sport to save my life, but love to write. Prone to rants, raves, snarky humour and caustic commentary. My team's the Ottawa Senators. Author of Armchair Hockey, a work of humourous fiction released this year and available for sale online at Chapters and Amazon.