The New Jersey Devils evened their series with the New York Rangers, winning Game Two by a 3-2 score on the strength of David Clarkson's early third period goal.
While the Devils' first marker was scored by Ilya Kovalchuk, there continued to be contributions from those whose names are found much further down the marquee.
The Devils' second goal, for example, came compliments of a Ryan Carter deflection, giving Carter four points in 13 playoff games, which seems modest, but it's an offensive explosion from a player who had eight points in 72 games during the regular season.
Defenceman Bryce Salvador continued his impressive play, leading the Devils with 23:37 of ice time, picking up a pair of assists. Salvador now has eight points in 14 playoff games, one behind his point total in 82 regular season games this year.
Salvador's partner, Marek Zidlicky, continues to play well. He had an assist (giving him five points in the last five games) and a plus-2 rating. David Clarkson was a 30-goal scorer during the regular season, but his third period goal was his third goal of the playoffs as well as his third game-winning goal of the playoffs.
The Rangers got their goals from players who have performed well in the postseason, but didn't amount to much (or anything) in the regular season.
Marc Staal missed nearly half the year as he recovered from a concussion and finished with five points in 46 regular seaosn games. His goal in Game Two gives him six points in 16 playoff games and Staal led all skaters with 27:26 of ice time.
New York's second goal-scorer, Chris Kreider, has been making his mark in the postseason after playing all year at for national champion Boston College. Kreider's goal gives him four goals and six points in the playoffs, with half of those totals (ie. two goals, three points) coming in the first two games against New Jersey.
The difference between the Rangers and Devils on this night, then, was that the Devils' superstar scoring winger found the net while the Rangers' top goal-scoring winger, Marian Gaborik, found himself on the bench for a stretch in the second and third periods. Gaborik finished with 15:21 of ice time, his lowest of the playoffs by more than two minutes.
While Rangers coach John Tortorella surely sent a message to Gaborik about poor play along the boards in the Rangers' defensive zone, he also limited the ice time of his most skilled goal-scorer in a game decided by one goal.
The most impressive performance in the losing effort, though, belonged to defenceman Ryan McDonagh, who tied for the Rangers' team lead with three shots on goal and five hits, while recording eight blocked shots when no one else on either club managed more than two.
So now the series goes to Newark and the Devils have to feel good about their chances. The series is a long way from being over but, having taken home-ice advantage, New Jersey has a chance to put real pressure on the Rangers, who will need from Gaborik since he's been neutralized in the first two games of this series.
Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.