By AJ Chasan
Lets face it, the Devils got blitzed on Tuesday in game one. It happens. New Jersey has a young core that’s experiencing their first time in the playoffs. However, they put up 112 points for a reason. They’re a deep and talented team that’s here for a reason, but they showed glaring issues in the opening game that need to be addressed immediately.
The Rangers gave the Devils chance after chance to win game one, taking four penalties on the night. The Devils managed one shot on the power play. One. That needs to change come 7pm tonight. The Rangers were the third least penalized team in the regular season this year. Four power play opportunities in a game won’t happen again. When the blueshirts give the Devils opportunities, they need to capitalize.
Another issue was relying solely on the rush to create offense. When the Devils got their chances on Igor Shesterkin, they mostly came from the rush. This should come to no surprise as they are the fastest team in the league. Once they got the puck in deep and had sustained offensive zone time, they couldn’t create much offense. It felt as the game went on that they were just throwing pucks on goal without any net presence whatsoever. Allowing Shesterkin to face shots while seeing the puck all the way in is just a recipe for disaster.
This Devils team is playing with house money in this series. Their core of Hischier, Hughes, Bratt, Meier, Mercer, amongst so many more talented players will be in the playoffs for a long time. If they lose this series, no one will bat an eye. But this series is still very winnable. Taking game two puts them right back into it with the series then going to Madison Square Garden for game three. Tonight will be the real test to see if this year’s Devils can make this a series. All their problems are incredibly fixable. Let’s see if they can weather the storm and even up the series tonight. If not, they’ll be on major sweep watch come these next two games.