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http://srh.hockey.sportsline.com/news/1080704765

Devils Blank Rangers

Mar. 30, 2004

Derek

maddenoverboard11.jpg

Madden Overboard: Devils' center John Madden tumbles towards ice after Ranger defenseman Fedor Tyutin hipchecks him.

Sometimes, the score doesn't always tell the story. That much was the case in tonight's 5-0 Devils' victory over the Rangers at Continental Airlines Arena.

Despite the outcome, the Rangers gave a solid effort for most of the game. However, they didn't get the goaltending they needed from Stephen Valiquette.

Battles were hard fought in a seesaw first period which saw both teams take turns trying to get scoring chances through stingy D's. Both Valiquette (11 saves) and Martin Brodeur (7 saves) were sharp.

With a scoreless game early in the second, the Rangers applied more pressure but couldn't get that first goal that might have boosted their confidence. Coincidentally, the game turned on a questionable call on Ranger defenseman Fedor Tyutin. With Devil center John Madden in pursuit of a loose puck, Tyutin came across with what looked like a clean hipcheck to take out Madden. However, the officials ruled that Tyutin had clipped him.

It didn't take long for the Devils to capitalize. Off a quick touch-pass from Patrik Elias, Scott Gomez sent a harmless wrist shot that somehow eluded Valiquette's pads and trickled into the net at 6:40. The goal seemed to shake Valiquette's confidence. That much was evident when an equally looking routine shot by Erik Rasmussen went through his glove just 4:53 later to give the Devils a two-goal lead.

After the Rangers applied some pressure late in the period, Bobby Holik took a needless interference penalty that put the game out of reach. It only took 44 seconds for Gomez to tally his second power play goal of the evening. Off some nice passing from Scott Niedermayer and Patrik Elias, Gomez wound up from the right circle and beat Valiquette with just 2:23 left to make it 3-0 after two periods.

With the outcome all but decided, the Devils added two third period goals. One coming from an unlikely source.

Just 4:26 into the period, Igor Larionov worked a give-and-go with Turner Stevenson before ripping a shot past Valiquette to make it 4-0. The goal was Larionov's first as a Devil (first of season) and first goal since tallying one a little over a year for Detroit on March 25th, 2003. A welcome sight for the Devils.

Erik Rasmussen would notch his second of the game when he finished off a nice passing play with Jan Hrdina at 10:14.

The victory temporarily gave the Devils sole possession of first place in the Atlantic. Both teams have 98 points but New Jersey has three more wins (42) to hold first tiebreaker. However, the Flyers have three games remaining compared to the Devils' two.

Martin Brodeur turned aside all 24 shots for his league-leading 11th shutout of the season. It was his 75th career blanking and first since a 2-0 21-save effort against Montreal back on January 23rd.

Gomez and Rasmussen each tallied two goals. Hrdina, Langenbrunner and Elias each added two assists. Valiquette allowed five goals on 32 shots.

Notes: Mark Messier didn't play due to an elbow contusion. Reports continue to surface that Messier will suit up for tomorrow night's Garden finale but not play in the Rangers final game at Washington. Adding speculation that Messier could call it a career tomorrow night versus Buffalo.

Devils took the season series 4-1-1 outscoring the Rangers 24-10.

Devil 2003 first round pick Zach Parise did not play but skated with the team earlier this afternoon. The North Dakota product signed a three-year contract worth a million dollars-per-season making him eligible to participate in the playoffs.

Three Stars Of The Game:

Third Star- Martin Brodeur, Devils (24 saves)

Second Star- Scott Gomez, Devils (2 goals (13 and 14)

First Star- Erik Rasmussen, Devils (2 goals (5 and 6)

Edited by Derek21
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I also thought the hipcheck was clean but I guess the refs didn't. The Rangers did play better then the score says especially with guys like Josh Green and Mike Green and many others.

Jagr had a horrible game. TSN had a clip of him skating near the end of the game so slowly and not moving and just slashing Pandolfo and Brylin. It must suck to be him right now. I can't blame him for not giving much effort. He is a 77 million dollar player stuck in a rebuilding stage.

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DR, I'm going to disagree about Jagr. I thought he gave good effort when the game was close. He had that one chance which Brodeur stopped awkwardly. And he cycled the puck behind the net creating opportunities for his linemates the first two periods. What's he supposed to do when his team's down five goals? It's got to stink. What can he say when his linemate Holik acts like an ass taking a dumb penalty to finish any chance they had at coming back?

As for the Tyutin play, maybe it was a low-bridge. I didn't think it was that bad. I felt they called it because of how Madden fell. But they felt it was the right call. I guess what irked me was how both Niedermayer and some other Devil sticked Hlavac down twice on the same shift just before that play. But they missed both of them. I guess reputation works against ya sometimes.

I thought the line of Rasmussen-Hrdina-Langenbrunner was by far the best Devil line in this game. If Burns were smart, he'd continue to play Hrdina because he's good when he gets time. Also, aside from the goal Larionov scored, he played really well. He had good chemistry with Kozlov.

Devils' best D-man was Martin in this game.

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They showed a replay on the clipping call. He did drop down to one knee to get under Madden. It was really quick, but the right call.

With a few games left and down by 5, I'm not surprised that Jagr wasn't pressing. There's really no reason (other than pride) for him to be hustling towards the end. He's not fighting to leave a good impression for a roster spot next season like the rest of the team. That line was buzzing when it was 0-0, but as it slipped away, so did the effort.

-Dan

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However, they didn't get the goaltending they needed from Stephen Valiquette.

Why does it seem that it's always the fault of the Ranger goaltender? I don't mean to call you out Derek - I've seen/heard it numerous times before (including Sam & JD). I find it hard to believe that I'm the only one that feels the Ranger defense is a bit weak in assisting their netminders..

Bill

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However, they didn't get the goaltending they needed from Stephen Valiquette.

Why does it seem that it's always the fault of the Ranger goaltender? I don't mean to call you out Derek - I've seen/heard it numerous times before (including Sam & JD). I find it hard to believe that I'm the only one that feels the Ranger defense is a bit weak in assisting their netminders..

Bill

Yes, the D has been bad but the first 2 goals were just awful. This time it WAS the goalie's fault.

There is a time to blame the goalie and a time to blame the team. For example, even though Esche was pulled against the Rangers last Saturday he really couldn't be blamed on any of the goals. He had little chance and his team played terribly in front of him. But he HAD let in two softees vs. the Islanders the game before, and could be fairly blamed for that debacle.

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Why does it seem that it's always the fault of the Ranger goaltender?  I don't mean to call you out Derek - I've seen/heard it numerous times before (including Sam & JD).  I find it hard to believe that I'm the only one that feels the Ranger defense is a bit weak in assisting their netminders..

Bill

Because not every team has the caliber goaltending Devil fans have been spoiled by. If you watched the game closely last night, Valiquette gave up two awful goals which gave the Devils the momentum and killed any chance the Rangers had of winning. Till the point where Gomez weak slapper beat him. the Rangers had outplayed the Devils in the second. A bad goal has a way of setting a team back. And even after that, the Rangers responded well and pressured. But couldn't put a couple of point blank rebounds on net. Then Valiquette let in an even worse goal to Rasmussen and the bastard Holik took a selfish penalty which handed the game to the Devils. Really, the Devils looked disinterested last night. But if the opposing goalies spots them a two-goal cushion and a former player decides to help out their ex-team, it makes it hard to comeback and win.

And if you heard Doc and Chico discussing the game when it was 2-0, Doc said, "The Rangers have emphasized defense and really in this game, the defense couldn't be blamed for the Devils' first two goals."

Both guys praised their attention to detail. That should have told you something. This wasn't your typical five goal loss.

The third goal (Gomez sharp angle shot) was tough because Stevenson did a good job screening.

The Larionov goal was stoppable. The Rasmussen was off a turnover and he had no chance.

So, out of the Devils five goals, three could have been stopped. That's where if you have a reliable goalie, it makes the game a lot closer. That's what you have in Brodeur. Until Blackburn either recovers from exploratory shoulder surgery or Henrik Lundqvist comes over and is NHL ready, the Rangers will continue to struggle in this area. Signing Khabibulin might not be the answer.

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