Power play fails Devils in Game 3
Call it a power failure.
The New Jersey Devils went 0-for-5 with the man advantage in their 3-0 loss to the Rangers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday at the Prudential Center. New Jersey was able to generate only six shots in 10 minutes of power-play time.
“We generated some opportunities, some zone time, moved the puck around well,” Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. “I thought we created some real good looks on it. When their goalie's on like that, your goaltender is your best penalty killer, and I think that was the case tonight.”
Unlike Game 2, in which Ilya Kovalchuk scored the opening goal with a man-advantage wrist shot on a play that began with the Devils left wing walking down the wall, the Rangers had a shadow follow the superstar all over the ice Saturday.
Kovalchuk played 9:54 of the Devils’ 10 minutes of man-advantage time. He finished with eight shots — six on goal — in 24:57 of ice time.
“I think our (penalty kill) did a great job,” Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist said. “I think as a team when you feel like your PK are doing so many good things, you can play physical and be confident. Even though you take some penalties here and there, you know you're going to get the job done.”
Lundqvist made spectacular saves on two Kovalchuk breakaway opportunities.
“He's a good player. So every time you face players like that, you just try to be patient and wait for him to make the first move. And he had a couple of big chances,” Lundqvist said of Kovalchuk. “But I was a little lucky today — a couple times where I made the first move I still ended up making the save. That's not going to happen all the time.”
• The Rangers' Brandon Prust could receive supplemental discipline for an elbow to the back of the head of Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov while attempting to finish a check early in the second period. Replays showed that Prust’s elbow was up when he hit Volchenkov.
“I didn’t know I elbowed him until I saw the replay. (It) definitely wasn’t hard; it wasn’t my intention,” Prust said. “I’m sure (the league) might (review) it. There was no intent. I didn’t even feel it.”
DeBoer called the hit “head-hunting, plain and simple.”
• Zach Parise did not speak with the media after the game. The Devils’ captain has not scored a goal since Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series against Philadelphia. And he inadvertently became the focus of controversy after a New York newspaper quoted his father, New York Islanders legend J.P. Parise, saying his son “likes (Rangers coach) John Tortorella” and “would fit in” with the Blueshirts.
The 27-year-old is an unrestricted free agent this summer, and the bidding for the five-time 30-goal scorer is expected to be fierce.
“I don't know anything about that. But if he did, he's got good reason. I don't have anything to say about that,” DeBoer said. Asked if Parise was becoming frustrated, DeBoer said, “No, I don't think so.”
You can follow Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman