New Jersey Devils beat New York Rangers 5-3 in epic Game Five
New Jersey Devils 5, New York Rangers 3
NJ leads series 3-2
The New Jersey Devils claimed an epic 5-3 victory over the New York Rangers in Game Five of the Eastern Conference finals to move within touching distance of the Stanley Cup finals.
New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur made 25 saves but Henrik Lundqvist made just 12 saves for the Rangers while allowing four goals in a game for the first time this postseason. Even so, Brodeur will be mightily relieved to leave Madison Square Garden with a 3-2 series lead after gifting the Rangers their crucial third goal in this high-scoring encounter.
The Devils took an astonishing 3-0 lead within the first ten minutes of Game Five. But New Jersey let the lead slip away to 3-3 before rallying and scoring twice late in the third period to claim the victory.
The victory lifted New Jersey to a 3-2 lead over their cross-river rivals in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals and they will have the chance to seal a place in the Cup finals for the first time in nine years when the show returns to New Jersey on Friday.
Gionta got the Devils going, flipping a rebound past Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist less than three minutes into the game, and Patrik Elias deflected in another 90 seconds later before New York had even registered a shot on Brodeur. The Garden crowd were stunned into silence when Travis Zajac’s slap shot on a three-on-two break got past Lundqvist low on the stick side for a 3-0 Devils lead with 10:11 remaining in the opening period.
The top-seeded Rangers responded with a goal by Brandon Prust, back after a one-game suspension for elbowing, five minutes later and 32 seconds into the second period captain Ryan Callahan cut the Devils’ lead to 3-2.
In complete control, the Rangers scored the equalizer through Marian Gaborik 17 seconds into the third as Brodeur miscontrolled the puck to allow the chance which then crept under the goalie.
But Ryan Carter put the Devils ahead again from a feed by Stephen Gionta with 4:24 remaining, and Zach Parise scored an empty net goal with just over 30 seconds left.
The Los Angeles Kings have already booked their place in the Stanley Cup finals after wrapping up the Western Conference title in five games over the Phoenix Coyotes.
The Kings reached the finals in just 14 games (4-1, 4-0, 4-1), while the Rangers have already battled through 19 games and the Devils 17.
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