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New York Rangers Vs New Jersey Devils

EASTERN CONFERENCE:

NEW JERSEY DEVILS (Seed 3)

The New Jersey Devils are hot. They’ve won 11 games in a row on their way to taking the Atlantic Division. They’re winning with one of the best goaltenders in net, Martin Brodeur, and with a lot of team effort.

Don’t look for a lot of scoring from New Jersey. They finished 12th in the Eastern Conference in that category, well below all playoff teams and lower than most teams that were eliminated from the chase for the cup.

On defense Brian Rafalski is their biggest threat scoring 6 goals and setting up 43 others. That stat may say it all about this team. With 43 assists Rafalski is 9th amongst all Eastern Conference defensemen, but his six goals don’t even get him in the top 50 in that category.

This will have to be a tough team effort with unforgiving “D,” a team effort of offense and an up-tick in the aging Brodeur’s net minding. Winger Brian Glonta and center Scott Gomez led the team in scoring with 48 and 33 goals respectively. Glonta, Gomez, and Rafalski combined for a total of 127 assists with winger Jamie Langenbrunner adding 34 more. These are the guys who will have to step up and create enough goals to win.

Brodeur has seen more shots, over 2,000, and played in more games (73 total) than any other playoff goaltender in the Eastern Conference. This makes his .911 SV% especially impressive. He can be a highly agile stonewall on the ice. But he’s also a risk taker and that can work against him and the team, especially when that team has trouble putting the puck in the net.

For New Jersey to stay in the playoffs, they have very little margin of error and probably less than any other team.

New York Rangers (Seed 6)

This is the first time in this century that this one-proud franchise has been in the playoffs.

Rookie goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30-11- 0) has been impressive, stopping .924 of the shots he’s seen and letting in 2.18 goals per game. His goals against stat leaves a nice margin for victory, with the Rangers scoring an average of 3.05 goals per game (+ .87). When you add scoring machine Jaromir Jagr (128 points, 54 goals, 69 assists) into the equation, you can see that the Rangers have a shot to do some damage in the playoffs.

First Round Playoff Series Prediction:

New Jersey over New York in 5 games

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