The ice quality at Madison Square Garden in the first period of Game 1 is pretty awful. The puck is bouncing all over the place and it’s definitely hurting New Jersey’s ultra-aggressive forecheck a bit.
The Devils were able to dispatch Philadelphia so quickly in the Conference Semifinals by dominating and controlling the puck on the forecheck, but in the first period against the Rangers, they haven’t been able to control things with the same kind of tenacity. Some of that can certainly be credited to their opponent, as the Rangers are faster on the backend than the Flyers, but part of it has to do with the ice, as well.
This is what happens when you put an ice rink over a train station, New York City.