It’s been literally decades since the Panthers or Maple Leafs have won a game in the second round. That changes for someone tonight.
THN Game 1 preview: https://t.co/qCViAuXUGJ
– David Dwork (@DavidDwork) May 2, 2023
Yesterday, on the sidelines of the Devils’ win over the Rangers to advance to the second round, the Devils ended the second-longest streak without winning a series by an NHL club.
The 2007 Sabres have the edge since the Maple Leafs beat the Lightning and the Kraken disposed of the Avalanche – if you include Seattle.
Still, it’s no mean feat for the Devils, who have won three series without Martin Brodeur in front of the net in their history. Twice in 1988 and once in 2023. And ironically, Martin Brodeur is working on the second floor in 2023.
It’s also the first series won without Lou Lamoriello, who’s been on leave since his Islanders are out of the playoffs.
All of this is, of course, the work of an excellent goaltender, Akira Schmid. The Devils’ saviour, who arrived just when his club clearly needed him, posted statistics reminiscent of Brodeur.
Akira Schmid had a legendary Round One coming out party for the @NJDevils:
Two Shutouts (incl. 31-save Game 7 shutout)
1.39 GAA pic.twitter.com/lFw3clVPbk
– Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 2, 2023
But it wasn’t just because of the goaltender that the Devils won. They played well throughout the series, and did enough to overpower their opponents, who are more talented on paper.
Gerard Gallant is the first to say it: talent isn’t everything. Clearly, Gerard.
Because no, the Rangers didn’t play well. Some guys really didn’t look bad (Chris Kreider and Igor Shersterkin are names that come to mind quickly), but as a general rule, it was tough.
And since the Devils played better, they didn’t hesitate to say so loud and clear. Still, Tomas Tatar beats you in the playoffs…
On social networks, after congratulating the Rangers, we saw the Devils’ Twitter account post a few tweets mentioning that the Rangers were the favorites, but that the suburban club surprised.
Ah: there’s that, too, which is nice.
Damn spam calls. pic.twitter.com/vRsKOJ27DY
– New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) May 2, 2023
The Devils chose violence on social networks (and in the streets on the part of fans) instead of on the ice, as the Rangers did midway through the third period of yesterday’s game.
After all, we all saw the hit on Timo Meier. The Devils player, who didn’t have a point in the series, made the news for all the wrong reasons when he put his head down at the wrong time.
It’s the fact that he returned to the bench at the end of the game that makes us wonder. No?
– Raphaël Guillemette (@raphael_SRC) May 2, 2023
All this to say that there will be questions asked in New York. Among them: how to explain the fact that Alexis Lafrenière, who is due to renegotiate his contract this summer, didn’t get a point in the playoffs?
But this year, the answer is simple: he didn’t play much.
Did he play like a guy who deserved 20 minutes of ice time? No, not necessarily. That said, with the stars in town, Gerard Gallant decided to cut back on the youngsters’ playing time.
Would he have been better off going about it the other way? It’s hard to say no, since the Rangers lost the wrong way. Perhaps more playing time would have given the youngsters more confidence.
At least, it couldn’t have been worse than what the veterans did.
– Who will win tonight?
– Speaking of the Rangers.
Trade condition update:
– CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) May 2, 2023
– Coming up.
– theScore NHL (@theScoreNHL) May 2, 2023
The Dodgers would have been among his top options if he’d had an offer. https://t.co/iCb53vIGDP
– Passion MLB (@passion_mlb) May 2, 2023
BREAKING: Fox Sports has discovered that Super Bowl LVII was the most-watched of all time after all – averaging 115.1 million viewers.
– Front Office Sports (@FOS) May 2, 2023