Thursday, 17 April 2008

The Rangers Aren't Be-Deviled

by Jes

In my First Round predictions, I gave the New York Rangers little chance and little credit in their ability to beat the New Jersey Devils.

With the Devils on the brink, I obviously have quite a lot of egg on my face.

Admittedly, I don't follow the Devils or Rangers all that closely, since they are far in the East and both not very interesting to watch. Thus, perhaps I should have given more credit to Tom Renney for turning his club into a defensive juggernaught, and getting guys like Chris Drury, Scott Gomez, and Jaromir Jagr to buy into his choking system.

In his preview for FanHouse, Greg Wyshynski, a noted Devils fan, wasn't too upbeat about his team's chance at getting past the first round. Despite some decent names on the Devils roster, Greg thought the Devils lack of offence would come back to bite them.

Certainly, 9 goals in 4 games isn't going to do the trick offensively, but the Devils are a collective -31 in these 4 games, something unheard of in New Jersey Devils hockey since the Mickey Mouse days.

Tongue-in-cheek, Southern Correspondent Wayne asks "The team that has few fans is now down 3-1...Will Lou Lamoriello axe Brent Sutter before game 5 to fire up his team?"

Somehow, I wouldn't be shocked :/

I suppose the Rangers goal scoring woes this season blinded me to the fact that they do, in fact, have a lot more talent up front than the Devils. Shanahan, Jagr, Gomez, Drury, Straka vs. Elias, Madden, Parise, and's no contest.

I suppose, from an outsider's perspective, I can blame the Devils woes on goaltending. It's simplistic, but look at the other stats.

Power Plays - Both teams are at 20%
Penalty Killing - Both teams are at 80%, with the Rangers even shorthanded 5 more times than the Devils
Shots on goal - 124 to 117
Faceoffs - Both teams are near 50%

So, we go to goaltending... Martin Brodeur? A 90.4SV% is well below average, and not the type of golden goaltending we're used to seeing from the man with the golden horseshoe up his ass. Lundqvist? He's at 92.4% after struggling for much of the regular season.

Whatever the case may be, the Rangers are one win away from sweeping aside the Devils, and booting me in the groin for not giving them enough credit.

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