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Cullen: Rangers nearly duplicate Game One in Game Three win

Scott Cullen
5/19/2012 10:11:18 PM
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In a virtual carbon copy of Game One, the New York Rangers earned a 3-0 win over the New Jersey Devils to take a 2-1 series lead.

Just as in Game One, Dan Girardi and Chris Kreider scored the first two Rangers goals, in the third period. In Game three, Ryan Callahan duplicated Artem Anisimov's production, assisting on the second goal and then clinching the game with an empty-netter.

The goal was Girardi's third of the playoffs -- all game-winners -- which is a nice contribution for a player who had five goals in 82 regular season games. Almost as nice as getting goals in three straight games from Kreider, who has yet to play an NHL regular season game, but has five goals in the postseason.

While the goal-scoring was similar to the first game of the series, the difference in the third game was that the Devils held a decided territorial advantage, outshooting the Rangers 36-22, only to have Henrik Lundqvist turn all 36 shots aside. That advantage in goal is crucial to the Rangers' chances.

On a night in which Ilya Kovalchuk led all skaters with six shots on goal, including a couple of the breakaway/partial breakaway variety, the Devils' number one line of Kovalchuk, Zach Parise and Travis Zajac was minus-2 apiece, while Girardi and defence partner Ryan McDonagh were plus-2 on the day.

The Rangers regained home-ice advantage with the road win, but the 14-shot deficit was their second-worst showing of the playoffs. That's not the way to have long-term success but, on this day, Henrik Lundqvist made sure that the Rangers ended up on the right side and that probably won't be the last time that is needed from King Henrik.

From the Devils' perspective, they have to be encouraged by dominating the territorial game (D Mark Fayne had a game-high plus-16 Corsi, per www.timeonice.com) and because of that they know that they can compete with the Rangers, if only they can find a way to knock Lundvist off his game.

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.

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