PLAYOFF SERIES: Eastern Conference quarterfinals; Devils lead 1-0.
After routing the Rangers in their playoff opener for their 12th straight victory, the Devils look to take a 2-0 lead in the series when the teams meet at Continental Airlines Arena.
New Jersey rolled into the postseason with an 11-game winning streak and continued its dominant play Saturday, beating New York 6-1. Patrik Elias scored two of New Jersey’s team-record five power-play goals and added four assists for the first six-point game of his career.
New Jersey, which set an NHL record for the longest win streak to end a season, finished one point ahead of New York for the Atlantic Division crown. On Saturday, the Devils dealt the Rangers their sixth straight loss—and maybe an even bigger blow late in the third period.
Trailing 5-1, top scorer Jaromir Jagr suffered an apparent upper-body injury while helping to kill a penalty, a rarity for the forward who isn’t known for his defense.
Jagr, who recorded a franchise-record 123 points during the regular season, missed a check on Scott Gomez and appeared to be in pain as he flexed his left arm near New York’s bench before leaving for the locker room.
Jagr’s status for Game 2 is uncertain, and he is expected to be evaluated by doctors Sunday.
“I don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow,” Jagr said. “After that, if I’m ready to play, I’ll play. It doesn’t matter. We have to get ready for the next game whether I play or not.”
The Devils came ready to play Saturday and also got power-play goals from Gomez, Brian Rafalski and Jamie Langenbrunner, a trio that combined for eight points. Brian Gionta, the team’s leader during the regular season with 48 goals, had three assists.
“We were warned before the game that they are going to keep calling the penalties the way they did in the regular season,” Elias said. “This was more emotional today because we know what’s on the line.”
Rangers coach Tom Renney knows his team has to get it together, especially if Jagr is unable to return.
“We lost our composure, we had some selfish hockey, some undisciplined play, and we had guys that chose to think of themselves ahead of their teammates,” Renney said. “One thing we know for sure is we’re not going to beat the New Jersey Devils from the penalty box.”
Brodeur, who finished with 29 saves, improved to 5-9-0 with a 1.93 goals-against average against New York in the postseason.
New Jersey is 12-4 in playoff series when taking a 1-0 lead, including winning each of its last eight dating to 2000. New York, though, has dropped the first game in each of its last nine playoff appearances, and gone on to win six of those series.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Rangers - 100 points; 6th seed. Devils - 101 points; 3rd seed.
PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Rangers - Prucha, 1 goal; Jagr and Michael Nylander, 1 assist; Prucha, Jagr and Nylander, 1 point; Ryan Hollweg, 19 PIM. Devils - Elias, 2 goals, 4 assists and 6 points; Cam Janssen, 5 PIM.
PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Rangers - Power play: 16.7 percent (1 for 6). Penalty killing: 61.5 percent (8 for 13). Devils - Power play: 38.5 percent (5 for 13). Penalty killing: 83.3 percent (5 for 6).
LAST MEETING: Saturday; Devils, 6-1. At East Rutherford, N.J., the Devils totaled 13 power-play chances to New York’s six.