By Jay Greenberg in Newark
To beat a goalie that plays so deep, the Devils just have to dig deeper, says Zach Parise.
"We have seen our fair share of [Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist] through the years and we know how he plays," said the Devils' captain Tuesday. "He plays a lot deeper than most goalies in the league and he anticipates the puck across laterally really well, pretty unique in that aspect.
"But he is a butterfly goalie and a lot of goalies in the league are butterfly goalies now, so nothing changes. Almost every goalie in the league now will stop what they see. You have to do a better job getting in front of him and jumping in on those rebounds. I was saying yesterday he is an MVP candidate for a reason. If he sees it, he's going to stop it."
Seeing Lundqvist hold off a significant Devils second-period surge in Game 1 was believing that only the opponent changes every round for the Rangers, never the scenery. The first goal wins for them because Lundqvist makes it hold up until they get their next one.
"We had a lot of great chances in the first two periods," said New Jersey forward Ilya Kovalchuk. "If we had scored a goal it would have been a totally different game.
"It's very important to get the first goal against that team to make them open up."
The Rangers only open up when they are asked if they are tired. Then, they get really mad. Otherwise, in front of microphones, they are as unyielding about their feelings as they are to pucks trying to reach Lundqvist against great odds.
"Twenty-two shots, that's not enough," said Kovalchuk, subscribing to the quantity theory, but quality was an issue Monday night, too.
The Devils already had their series freebie from the normally ultra reliable Dan Girardi, who handed the Devils two breakaways that partner Ryan McDonagh had to chase down. New Jersey got beaten 3-0, regardless, with Girardi steadying himself to score the early third-period goal that broke the scoreless tie.
They don't crack, these Rangers, meaning both wise or otherwise. But the Devils can't quit, it's an NHL rule, and besides, going tonight to Game 2 in New York knowledge still represents to them power.
Seeing Lundqvist as often as six times a year, the Devils know where he stands in his crease, where he parks his car, where his relatives live. And they know what they have to do to finally get a triple-deflection past him.
'We have a plan'
"We have a plan," said coach Peter DeBoer, who does not plan to tell us, but it's not exactly as complicated as nuclear fission, more like hockey fusion.
"Our forecheck can be a lot better," said Parise. "We looked this morning at some of the different instances and a couple times we didn't dump the puck well enough to let the first forechecker get in and do his job.
"Other times, we would get our first guy in and the second guy wasn't close enough. The way they play in their defensive zone, they overload pretty well and if you don't have a second guy in there, it's tough to get pucks back. We have to be a little closer to each other to get some pucks back."
Indeed, the Devils have told us for two rounds that they are a close-knit team. They were behind 2-1 against Florida and 1-0 versus Philadelphia they loved each other too much to go home for the summer.
They have no differences, so as long as Devils goalie Marty Brodeur doesn't suddenly begin to look his 40 years, the difference between these two teams can still be negligible. Get the first guy in more often, and more often than not, even the best goalie in the league begins to become every other goalie in the league, just another butterflier who can't stop what he can't see.
"I think we still feel pretty good about the way we played for 40 minutes last night," said Parise. "We just didn't play well enough for a long enough period of time, that was the big difference.
"It is not an easy game playing against them. You have to be prepared to be hit and create scoring chances the hard way. So I still feel we have to be much better and we will be.
"I don't think we played nearly as well as we are capable of doing." But what did he really think?
DeBoer, asked if he thought Marty Brodeur was bumped by Derek Stepan as Dan Girardi's point shot arrived on the first goal: "I thought he was bumped."
DeBoer, asked if he thought Michael Del Zotto closed his hand on the puck before pushing it along the back wall to safety, starting the play that resulted in Chris Kreider's goal. "I thought he closed his hand on the puck."Snippy comment of the day by John Tortorella
Asked why he doesn't like to single out individuals (even though he often does): "It's a team sport. This isn't golf."Follow Jay Greenberg @scribejg.
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