Thursday, April 17, 2008

Staal’s play of atonement, puts Devils on the brink of extinction

Wearing goat horns one night and a halo the next, that was the fate of the forty eight hours of Marc Staal.

The Ranger defenceman who inadvertently saw a puck deflect off his skate into the Ranger net in game three, more than made up for that misfortune on Wednesday night.

Staal’s slap shot late in the third, broke a 3 – 3 deadlock propelling the New York Rangers to victory, leaving the Blue shirts one win away from dismissing their regional rivals in their quarterfinal series.

In a game that featured physical play and fair bit of chippiness (much of it directed at uber enemy Sean Avery), the Rangers made the best out of their power play situations and jumped out to a 1-0 lead only to see the Devils bounced back and tie things up. The two teams would exchange goals again in the second period, leading to Staal’s heroics late in the third.

The over excited net front antics of Avery from game three were not repeated, owing most likely to a mid series rule interpretation from the league office to help the referees decide when being a boor crosses the line. However, Avery found no shortage of acquaintances on the night eager to make sure that he no longer provided an irritant to goaltender Martin Brodeur.

The extra attention to the pest of MSG kept Avery off the score board, but most likely accounted for attention not being provided on other Rangers, including Scott Gomez and Chris Drury who picked up key goals on the way to the 5-3 victory.

The two teams return to action on Friday in Newark, a do or die game for the Devils who could find that their playoff expectations come to an end after only round of the second season.

CBC Sports-- Staal bounces back
Newark Star Ledger-- Things aren't looking up
New York Daily News-- Rangers push Devils to the brink
. Stats Pack

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