All Of A Sudden, We Have A Series

Akira Schmid was incredible and all of a sudden the Devils have risen from the dead.

In a fit or rage and depression two nights ago, I wrote a blog declaring the Devils dead, the season over, and a sweep was inevitable. Now, here we are 48 hours later, and the Devils are very much alive. Akira Schmid was the best Devil in my opinion as he stopped 35 of 36 Ranger shots. Arguably just as important as his saves, Schmid was fantastic at controlling rebounds and did a great job at limiting the second chances for the Rangers. Vanecek wasn’t the reason the Devils lost the first two games but I don’t think it is even debatable that Schmid was better tonight than Vanecek was in either of the first two games. At just 22 years old, in his first NHL playoff, in a must win game, Schmid was fantastic tonight. We have a legit goaltending controversy in the Garden State for this playoffs. How can you justify going back to Vanecek after this performance from Schmid? I certainly couldn’t.

Schmid was great and is probably the biggest reason the Devils won, but the Devils were significantly better than they were in the last two games. Unlike the first two games, the Devils were successful on the penalty kill. The Devils killed all five Ranger power plays without allowing a goal. The Devils were still too passive for my liking, but at least tonight they did a good job of tying up Kreider in front and did not allow him to tip shots or get to rebounds. Just taking away that one guy really handicapped the Ranger power play. Now if only theDevils could be more aggressive and take away the Rangers time and space on the power play, then we would really be cooking with gas.

The Devils played a pretty solid game tonight. They got 28 shots on goal, they crashed the net several times, and did a much better job than the first two games at controlling and cycling the puck in the Rangers zone. Furthermore, they did a much better job than the first two games at preventing the Rangers from entering the zone cleanly and setting up in the offensive zone. The Devils still have a deep hole to climb out out of, but tonight was a great start. Repeat this effort on Monday and its a brand new best of three series. If they revert back to games one and two, this game will mean as much as game 3 in 2008 did.

I’m not saying this is the case, but it is possible that the Devils read my blogs after game one and game two respectively and used them as motivation to get better. I don’t know for a fact that they read those blogs and learned from them, but I also don’t have enough evidence to rule that out either. I am still not confident about the Devils winning this series, we will see how game four goes, but I am very pleased that the Devils have still never been swept in the history of the team. I just don’t want this series to turn into what 2008 was. You can follow me on twitter at PatBoooooth. I am already so nervous for Monday night. Let’s Go Devils.

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