New York Rangers vs. New Jersey Devils, 8:00 PM at The Prudential Center
Game 4, Eastern Conference Finals (Rangers Lead 2-1)
Where To Watch: NBC Sports Network
Live One-Hour Postgame Show: MSG Network
Where To Listen: 98.7 FM ESPN New York, and newyorkrangers.com
Live In-Game Chat: 7:45 PM on BlueshirtsUnited.com
Coming off Henrik Lundqvist's second shutout of the series on Saturday, the Rangers look to take a commanding lead over the Devils on Monday when the two teams square off in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Rangers own a 2-1 series lead due in large part to Lundqvist, who sandwiched 3-0 shutout victories in Games 1 and 3 around a frustrating 3-2 home-ice loss in Game 2. Lundqvist leads the NHL in post-season shutouts with three, while his 1.57 goals against average and .942 save percentage are second only to the Kings' Jonathan Quick in the playoffs. He has stopped 81 of 84 shots in the conference finals and has been the biggest difference maker on either team, making his best saves while the Rangers were still seeking traction in their game both in Game 1 and, especially, in Game 3. Though they have outscored New Jersey 8-3 so far in this series, the Rangers believe that they need to generate much more offense against Martin Brodeur, especially at even strength. On the power play the Rangers are now 4-for-10 in the conference finals, while the Blueshirts penalty kill---a game-changing 5-for-5 in Game 3---has been a solid 11-for-12. The Devils began to show some frustration at not being able to beat Ludnqvist both during and following Game 3. However they will receive a boost to their lineup on Monday when center Jacob Josefson---who has missed the entire post-season with a fractured wrist---returns and helps to reset the Devils forward line combinations. It will be interesting to see if either team plays with more of an edge following the war of words between coaches John Tortorella and Peter DeBoer the past two days, or if the referees call a different game based on the accusations both Tortorella and DeBoer have made since the Rangers Game 3 win.
Rangers-Chris Kreider: The Rangers rookie continues to impress, having scored a goal in each of the first three games of this series, so far, while establishing a new NHL record for most goals (5) and points (7) scored by a player in the playoffs before he has ever played a regular season NHL game. John Tortorella moved Kreider around in Game 3---used to provide a spark alongside Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik, while also skating alongside Derek Stepan and Ryan Callahan. He has become a scoring threat every time he is on the ice.
Devils-Patrick Elias: Devils coach Peter DeBoer believes that with Jacob Josefson back and playing center, the struggling Elias will gain more freedom moving from the pivot to the wing here in Game 4. Elias is without a point and is -3 with 7 shots on goal in the first three games of this series. He also is pointless in his last five games overall, anad just 3-2-5 in 15 playoff games this spring.
"Obviously we want to play with urgency every game. And I think that's where maybe in the first two series we kind of lost it coming into certain games, but we want to try to focus on that and make sure we come out with a lot of intensity (in Game 4)."-Derek Stepan
Dan Girardi has scored three goals in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs---the first three post-season goals of his NHL career. All three of those goals have been game-winners, tying him for the league lead in that category this spring. During the regular season Giradi scored five goals in 82 games, with two of those being game-winners.
The Devils have been shutout three times in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, twice by the Rangers and once by the Panthers. The final in all three of those losses was 3-0. The Devils have posted one shutout of their own in the post-season this spring, in Game 4 of their first round series against Florida.
Will the Rangers win their first Game 4 of the post-season on Monday or will they head back to The Garden for Game 5 all tied 2-2 in the series? Share your prediction below.
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