Frank Seravalli was joined by Mike McKenna to discuss the New York Rangers’ series chances against the New Jersey Devils in the latest episode of Daily face-to-face live.
Frank Seravalli: Let’s talk about the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers, the Hudson River rivalry. The Devils bounced back in a big way, stealing both games at Madison Square Garden to tie. Game 5 takes place Thursday night in New Jersey, when you watch this series and really see how the Rangers were bullied by their head coach in Gerard Gallant. I saw what he said publicly and I didn’t hold back. I can only imagine what he said in private.
Their best players clearly haven’t been good enough but I also think it’s more than that, a matter of style and structure. We talked before the series with an open mic about the idea that these two teams play a totally different style of hockey. You saw in the first two games how Rangers did and then the Devils certainly made their mark as well. Who do you think will emerge now in Game 5 as being able to dictate that style and pace of play.
Mike McKenna: Well, to me, especially with the 5-on-5, the Devils just knocked Rangers over the head in the last two games. They own, they did everything with the puck they wanted. And Rangers can’t rely on their power play alone, because you’ve seen the Devils have silenced it in the last two games. Never mind the fact that Rangers had opportunities. And I think the Schmid factor is real for the Devils. I think Rangers are now looking at this big 6’5 keeper and they’re going oh shit.
They can’t just pump pucks into his feet, they miss their high shots that they try too hard. But they don’t get out of their zone either, Rangers aren’t Frank. So it’s not just about Rangers strikers not producing, like Zibanejad, Panarin, who have zero goals, Lafrenière has zero points across the board. Adam Fox is the only guy moving this team out of their zone and honestly Gallant’s system is a little loose that way.
I think the Devils have more structure with Schmid in goal, which makes him dangerous. But guess what? Rangers also have a goaltender who hasn’t allowed more than two goals in a game yet this series Frank. It’s a dogfight that should last seven if you ask me and I still think the Rangers top them, I’ll put it that way. I think their power play is waking up but the Devils aren’t going away.
Frank Seravalli: I agree and I’m glad you brought up the point on Shesterkin because even though the Devils have been drawing even they still haven’t really scored enough, how can they pass Shesterkin?
Mike McKenna: He’s like any goalie that you can’t let him see the clean puck. I know you have to get in his eyes, but no, the key is to get lateral puck movement and the Devils have always been pretty good at that. If they get their point game, that’s one thing, but in the zone he has to go through the middle of the ice so Shesterkin can’t get ready.
You can watch the rest of the episode here…