NHL Playoffs 2012: Rangers Stymie Kovalchuk, Devils Need to Show More Depth

May 19th, 2012 by Al Daniel Leave a reply »
Top gun Ilya Kovalchuk accounted for a leading six of the New Jersey Devils 36 shots on goal and eight of their 65 attempted shots in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.

Strengthen your stomach to think back long and hard to secondary school math class and you will notice the Devils as a whole almost perfectly squared Kovalchuk’s output in both areas. But the trouble Saturday afternoon was that the opposing New York Rangers perfectly snuffed it all out.

As a consequence, New Jersey now trails the series 2-1 in the wake of Henrik Lundqvist’s second 3-0 shutout triumph in three games. With this best-of-seven bout hovering around the halfway mark, Kovalchuk remains one of six Devils forwards to have registered a point against New York, each of them having earned one apiece in Game 2.

With 12 of New Jersey’s 84 total shots―or 14.3 percent―at Lundqvist through three games, Kovalchuk has been the most consistent tester of the Rangers’ Vezina Trophy-caliber stopper. He issued three registered bids in both Games 1 and 2, one of them being the icebreaker in his team’s 3-2 victory Wednesday night.


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