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All Even: Devils Beat Rangers 3-2 to Tie Series

Devils tie series with 3-2 win at the Garden

By Josh Alper
|  Thursday, May 17, 2012  |  Updated 6:24 AM EDT
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Settle in, this might take awhile.

That was the message the Devils sent on Wednesday night, shaking off their shutout loss in Game One to take a 3-2 victory over the Rangers. The win tied the Eastern Conference Finals at one game apiece as the action shifts to the other side of the Hudson on Saturday night.

It was a tie game entering the third period, but the Devils changed that when David Clarkson deflected a shot from the point past Henrik Lundqvist for the go-ahead score. Martin Brodeur made the saves he needed to make against a Rangers team short on intensity.

The Rangers were lucky to get out of the period down just 1-0. Ilya Kovalchuk scored on a wide-open snipe during a power play, but the Devils were the better team throughout the period, and the Rangers looked more than a little slow over the first 20 minutes. 

That sluggishness, added to the Devils forecheck, led to a slew of chances. Lundqvist and the post took care of most, but there was nothing either one could do on Kovalchuk's shot.

Malaise hung over the Rangers for two periods in Game One, but they snapped out of it more quickly this time. Marc Staal scored when a shot from the outside deflected off a Devils shot blocker, caromed off the boards and off of Brodeur to tie the score.

Given Brodeur's newly discovered distaste for the blocked shot, it is pretty rich that he gave up a goal when one of his own players got in the way of a shot. The Rangers then scored again when Chris Kreider deflected an Anton Stralman shot past Brodeur.

Kreider had another strong game and contributed something more than reason for John Tortorella to scream to the defensive effort. You could make a strong argument that he was the best Rangers forward on Wednesday night, a pretty remarkable turn of events given that Kreider played his first NHL game a month ago.

The Kreider goal came in the middle of a strong Rangers surge, but Brodeur stood up to the pressure. Momentum shifted after a few minutes, and the Devils rode a surge of their own to Ryan Carter's tying goal with less than two minutes to go in the period.

Both Rangers goals came on the power play, a fairly remarkable achievement for a team that usually takes those two minutes to audition for the next edition of Follies on Ice. The problem this time was in the five-on-five skating.

In the third, the flat Rangers returned from the locker room and it really felt like they were struggling to hang on instead of trying to win the game. They killed a penalty and kept the Devils from getting any insurance, but they never found their legs enough to mount an attack.

Once Clarkson scored, that became a major problem. Tortorella definitely saw things he didn't like over the course of the night -- cameras caught him chewing the team out in the first period and then with Marian Gaborik, who barely played down the stretch even though the Rangers desperately needed offense.

Tortorella's tricks didn't work this time. And so, for the third straight series, the Rangers have followed up an impressive opening salvo with a less lively Game Two. 

Even when they were flying high in the regular season, the Rangers didn't do easy. No reason that they were going to start now.

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