2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs
Eastern Conference Finals
#6 New Jersey Devils vs #1 New York Rangers
Best of Seven Series, Format 2-2-1-1-1
Series Price (odds courtesy of bookmaker): NYR -135 / NJD +115
Game#1 Monday, May 14, 2012, 8:05 pm Eastern, TV: NBC Sports
Madison Square Garden – New York, New York
Game #1 Opening Money Line: New York -140 / New Jersey +120
Game #1 Current Money Line: New York -125 / New Jersey +105
Game #1 Opening Total: 4 1/2 over -110 / under -110
Game #1 Current Total: 4 1/2 over -135 / under +115
After surviving 2 grueling 7 game series against the #8 Ottawa Senators and #7 Washington Capitals, the New York Rangers have advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1997. They will face a familiar foe for the right to play for the Stanley Cup. The #6 seeded New Jersey Devils beat the #3 Florida Panthers in 7 games after the Panthers took a 3-2 series lead. New Jersey then beat the #5 Philadelphia Flyers in 5 games after losing game 1 in overtime.
The Rangers, coached by John Tortorella, finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference with 109 points, by one point over the Pittsburgh Penguins. New Jersey, coached by Peter DeBoer, finished 4th in the Atlantic Division with 102 points and were the #6 seed in the East.
New York and New Jersey played 6 times in the regular season as they are both in the Atlantic Division. Each team won 3 times. In the last meeting March 19, both teams started their enforcers and there were three fights off the opening face off. Expect this series to be physical, but I don’t expect full on brawls like in the last game to happen.
The Devils and Rangers last met in the Eastern Conference Finals in 1994. It was a fantastic series that went the full 7 games, with the Rangers winning game 7 in double overtime. The Rangers went on to win the Stanley Cup that year for the first time since 1940. After that however, New Jersey went on to win 3 Cups between 1995 and 2003, and had another Finals appearance in that span as well.
New York is outscoring opponents 2.07-1.86 in the playoffs. New York has scored 29 goals and allowed 26. The Rangers have scored 9 power play goals in 57 chances (15.8%). The Rangers penalty kill has allowed 8 goals on 46 power play chances (82.6% PK rate). New York hasn’t scored or allowed any shorthanded goals. New York is outshooting opponents 29.9-28.4 this season.
New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has a 1.68 goals against average and .937 save percentage during the playoffs in 14 games. He has 2 shutouts and has allowed 25 goals.
Rangers’ center Brad Richards has 11 points including 6 goals in the playoffs to lead the team in both categories. Right wing Marion Gaborik has 10 points with 6 assists. Defenseman Michael Del Zotto and center Derek Stepan both have 8 points. Stepan has 7 assists in the playoffs to lead the team. Defenseman Dan Giradi has 7 points. Ryan Callahan and Artem Anisimov have 6 points each during the playoffs. Marc Staal, Anton Stralman, and Bryan Boyle also get significant shifts. Brandon Dubinsky, Mats Zuccarello, and Michael Sauer are all out indefinitely.
New Jersey is outscoring opponents 3-2.33 in the playoffs. The Devils have scored 36 goals and given up 28. New Jersey has scored 9 power play goals in 43 chances (20.9% PP rate). New Jersey’s penalty kill has struggled allowing 12 goals in 46 tries (73.9% PK rate). New Jersey has scored one shorthanded goal and allowed 2. The Devils are outshooting teams 32.3-27.4.
New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur is a certain first ballot hall-of-famer. The 41 year old has been in the league 20 years. He is the only player from that series in 1994 who is still playing in the NHL. This postseason, Brodeur has an 8-3 record with a 2.05 GAA and a save percentage of .920. He has one shutout and has allowed 25 goals. He also has 3 assists.
Devils’ left wing Ilya Kovalchuk has 12 points with 5 goals and 7 assists during the playoffs. He leads the Devils in all three categories. New Jersey Center Travis Zajac has 10 points with 5 goals. LW Zach Parise and RW David Clarkson both have 8 points. RW Dainius Zubrus and C Adam Henrique both ahve 7 points. Bryce Salvador and Patrik Elias both contribute as well. Defenseman Marek Zidlicky is questionable with a neck injury. Center Jacob Josefson is out indefinitely with a broken wrist. Henrik Tallinder is out for the season with a leg injury.
The home team is 4-1 in this series recently. The Rangers are 5-2 ATS at MSG against the Devils. The under is 5-2-1 in the last 8 meetings in New York.
The Devils are 4-0 against Atlantic division teams, against teams with winning records, overall, and against Eastern Conference teams, 5-1 as an underdog, 4-1 as a road underdog, after a win, and as a playoff underdog, 11-4 in conference final games, 8-3 after allowing 2 goals or less, and 0-4 in Monday games.
The Rangers are 7-1 in Monday games, 5-1 after scoring 2 goals or less, 4-1 as a home favorite, as a playoff favorite of -110 to -150, as a playoff favorite, and at home, 16-6 at home against teams with winning records, 11-5 as a home favorite of -110 or -150, 41-20 as a favorite, and 2-7 after a win.
This series will be very physical and will probably get chippy quickly. This series will come down to the goalies. Lundqvist has played slightly better than Brodeur who is showing signs of age as he isn’t quite as quick as he used to be. I think the Rangers win but it go the distance.
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