The New Jersey Devils put on a better performance in Game 3 that allowed them to skate away with a 2-1 win in New York, bringing the series to 2-1 in favor of the New York Rangers.
The Rangers did not put forth their best effort in the loss and must now look for answers on how to rebound. Both teams will be ready to go as Game 4 is live from Madison Square Garden in New York as the Devils look to tie the series.
A physical, defensive game is expected from both the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils, with both teams looking for an advantage. Some questions surround both teams heading into the game on Monday, April 24.
The New York Rangers are looking for answers heading into Game 4.
Who will be in goal for New Jersey in Game 4?
New Jersey Devils goaltender Vitek Vanecek started the series and looked horrible as the Devils quickly were down two games to none. Backup Akira Schmid, 22 years old, got the start in Game 3 and was the star of the game.
Although this was his first career start and playoff game, he looked sharp and did not look out of place. Devils head coach Lindy Ruff has to decide who to start in net for Game 4.
Does he go with Vanecek, who played a large role in getting the Devils to the playoffs yet struggled? Or, does he go with Schmid, who played amazingly in Game 3, yet is young and unproven?
Schmid should get the start and the Devils should ride the hot hand. Not only did the team look much better, but the Devils also got the win and Schmid was outstanding. He should, by all accounts, start the rest of the series.
Can New York Rangers forward Kreider continue his hot play?
New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider is one of the many stars for the Rangers this season. He has been equally good in the playoffs and has scored at least one goal in every playoff game. He is nothing short of amazing, and this series has been good to him so far.
The Devils need a player to shadow him and hit him as much as possible to slow him down. Until that happens, Kreider will continue to show that he has not lost a step at all in the playoffs.
Will the New York Rangers rebound in Game 4?
With New York up two games to none, the Devils played an excellent game to get the series to 2-1 in favor of the Rangers. The question is, how do the Rangers rebound to take Game 4 and go up 3-1?
The Rangers are a structured team that is defense-first. New York needs to come out in Game 4 aggressively on the puck, force turnovers, and send a message from puck-drop in the opening period.
They could use the strategy of getting into the opposing goaltender’s head, whoever that may be. Game 3 was not the same Rangers team we saw in games one and two, or in the regular season. The Rangers need to come back with fire, putting pucks on the net and screening the goaltender.
Can the Rangers power play get back on track?
The power play of the Rangers in the first two games was lethal. However, in Game 3 the power play was awful. The man advantage had no flow, passes were off, and they could not find an open teammate.
This New York Rangers team is better than that and will look to get back to their success rate of nearly 40%. Patrick Kane, Kreider, and Mika Zibanejad are keys to their power play success.
The Rangers need to get back to the form that got them 4-for-10 in the first two games, not 0-for-5 in Game 3. The power play for the Rangers has one of the most lethal lineups and should be better than 0-for-5 on the man advantage.
Will the New Jersey Devils play a relaxed style in Game 4?
Now that the Devils have a win in the series, does this win relax the team as a whole? The Devils need to play aggressively in the offensive and defensive zones but also a relaxed and patient style.
Stay back and let the Rangers turn the puck over and then capitalize on their opportunities. If the New Jersey Devils come out with too much emotion that could be cause for disaster as that could lead to turnovers and scrambling in their own end.
Projected lines for the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers
New York Rangers
Chris Kreider-Mika Zibanejad-Patrick Kane
Artemi Panarin-Vincent Trocheck- Vladimir Tarasenko
Alexis Lafreniere-Filip Chytil-Kaapo Kakko
Jimmy Vesey-Barclay Goodrow-Tyler Motte
Ryan Lindgren-Adam Fox
K’Andre Miller-Jacob Trouba
Niko Mikkola-Braden Schneider
Igor Shesterkin-Jaroslav Halak
New Jersey Devils
Timo Meier-Nico Hischier-Jesper Bratt
Erik Haula-Jack Hughes-Ondrej Palat
Tomas Tatar-Michael McLeod-Dawson Mercer
Jesper Boqvist-Curtis Lazar-Nathan Bastian
Jonas Siegenthaler-Dougie Hamilton
Ryan Graves-John Marino
Kevin Bahl-Damon Severson
Akira Schmid-Vitek Vanecek
Injuries -Jonathan Bernier (hip)
The above rosters were found at NHL.com.
Ways to Watch
ESPN, SN360, TVAS2, MSG, MSGSN
7:00 pm from Madison Square Garden in New York