New York Rangers vs. New Jersey Devils, 1:00 PM at The Prudential Center
Game 3, Eastern Conference Finals (Series Tied 1-1)
Where To Watch: NBC Television
Live One-Hour Postgame Show: MSG Network
Where To Listen: 98.7 FM ESPN New York
Live In-Game Chat: 12:45 PM on BlueshirtsUnited.com
After splitting the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals with the Devils at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers will now try to regain home-ice advantage on the road as the series shifts to the Prudential Center in Newark for Game 3 Saturday afternoon and Game 4 Monday night. The Rangers are coming off a disappointing 3-2 loss to the Devils in Game 2 on Wednesday night---one in which they let a 2-1 lead slip away, and one in which the team felt it was outworked for much of the game by a hungrier New Jersey squad. That loss was not too dissimilar for their other Game 2 losses to the Senators in the first round of this year's playoffs and to the Capitals in the second round. So far during the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs the Rangers have fared much better in Game 3---riding a brilliant Henrik Lundqvist performance to a 1-0 victory over the Sens and scoring a triple-overtime 2-1 decision over the Caps. The Rangers will be looking to generate more offense on Saturday, especially at even strength. The Blueshirts beat Martin Brodeur twice in Game 2, with both goals coming on the power play. And in Game 1 the Rangers scored only one true even strength goal---whiloe also netting one power play goal and another goal into an empty net. While the Rangers are hopeful that rookie Chris Kreider can continue his strong play---which included two goals already in the series---they are also looking for Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards, Ryan Callahan, and Cral Hagelin, among others, to break loose offensively. Meanwhile the Devils are expected to once again deploy their two most explosive players---Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise---on the same line with Travis Zajac, as they did in Game 2. It is not yet known if New Jersey will dress Peter Harrold or rookie Adam Larsson on defense. Harrold replaced Larsson in Game 2 after Larsson had played in Game 1.
Rangers-Ryan Callahan: The Rangers captain had a strong start to the post-season offensively, but has scored only one goal in the past 12 playoff games. He is still working extremely hard, has been a ferocious hitter (leading the NHL with 73), and a fearless leader, but he has managed just one shot on goal in each of the first two games agains new Jersey. For someone who plays more than 20 minutes per game, and in all game situations, the Rangers need more production from Callahan. And it would be an emotional lift for the others on the team should the popular Callahan finally break through against the Devils.
Devils-Zach Parise: The Devils captain has had some of the best scoring chances of any player in this series, so far, but has yet to score a goal. Henrik Lundqvist stuffed him on three consecutive shorthanded shots in Game 1, and he had another prime chance to score shorthanded in Game 2, but was denied. Parise has one assist in his last four playoff games, and has totaled four goals in 13 playoff games this spring. Should he get untracked, it would cause huge problems for the Rangers.
"Obviously this Game 3 is a huge game, as it has been in each series for us. That's the only thing we are thinking about right now. We're not dwelling on any mistakes we made the other night. We're more focused on what needs to be better in our game. I think we have a good group in here, and we've responded before, and we expect to do the same (Saturday)."-Mike Rupp
The Devils allowed three power play goals in their entire five-game series with the Flyers, and have already surrendered three power play goals to the Rangers in the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Devils up-and-down penalty kill surrendered nine power play goals to the Panthers over seven games in the opeining round of the playoffs this year.
Henrik Lundqvist has allowed three goals in only five of the 16 playoff games he has played this spring, including in Game 2 against the Devils Wednesday night. In the previous four games following a contest in which he allowed three goals, Lundqvist has given up a total of four goals combined.
Will the Rangers bounce back and corral Game 3 Saturday on the road in Newark? Share your predictions below.
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