For the first time in the Eastern Conference Final the New York Rangers looked like the better team against the New Jersey Devils.
Even when they faced a three-goal deficit 10 minutes in it wasn't necessarily due to poor play overall, just a bad start from Henrik Lundqvist. It was a rare example of him playing like a mortal this postseason.
In the end their rare explosion of offense, as well as their comeback attempt, all came up short as they dropped a 5-3 decision in Game 5 at Madison Square Garden. They now head to Newark on Friday night facing a must-win situation, needing a win in order to force a winner-take-all Game 7.
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Their forecheck was strong. They controlled the puck. For one night they took the Devils game and shoved it right back in their face. It was a role reversal of sorts as the Devils, and not the Rangers, were the team on the edge, holding on for dear life and trying to defend in their own zone.
But it wasn't enough as the Devils received another big goal at big moment from yet another unlikely hero.
New Jersey has been getting production from players up and down their roster the entire postseason. Bryce Salvador. Stephen Gionta. And with less than five-minutes to play, Ryan Carter, putting in his third of the playoffs and second of the series. Not exactly the players you're expecting in those moments.
Carter may have been the Devils best forward on the night, as he was on the ice for two goals and was one of the few players in the lineup that seemed to spend more time in the offensive zone on the attack (plus-4 Corsi) than pinned in the defensive zone trying to hold off the Rangers.
And he was rewarded by scoring perhaps the biggest goal of his career.
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