NEW YORK, NY - MAY 14: Adam Larsson #5 of the New Jersey Devils and Dan Girardi #5 of the New York Rangers vie for the puck in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on May 14, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Even though the Rangers won the opening game of the Eastern Conference Final, the club needs to make adjustments going into Game 2.
Even though the Rangers outshot the Devils throughout the game, the contest was still up for grabs until Chris Kreider hammered home the 2-0 goal on an odd-man power-play rush.
Though Martin Brodeur had some uncharacteristic gaffes early in the game, the New York offense couldn't capitalize on its opportunities. Shots went wide, passes were overskated, and at times, it seemed like Henrik Lundqvist was keeping them in the game by sheer force of will.
Players such as Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi made painful and unexpected turnovers, though Girardi redeemed himself by opening the scoring in the third period. The Rangers' power play, problematic at best during the playoffs, surrendered no less than five shorthanded opportunities, including an extended sequence where Zach Parise rendered the entire Ranger defense impotent before Lundqvist was able to stop the Devils' captain.
This is not to say that the Rangers shouldn't feel good about the win -- after all, nobody cares how you get them, just that you collect four wins before the other team does. But the club cannot simply lean on its goaltender and hope that Brodeur will blink first.
If anything, Monday night's game proves that the Rangers, once motivated, can skate with the Devils. Now they must go forward and enforce their will in Game 2 to take control of the series before it moves to New Jersey.