When asked what the New Jersey Devils greatest challenge would be in their upcoming series against the New York Rangers, Zach Parise provided an obvious, yet nonetheless accurate analysis.
“Probably getting some pucks by (Henrik) Lundqvist,” Parise said. “They’re a very defensive team. They pressure you all over the ice. They do have breakdowns from time and most of the time he’s there to bail them out.”
The Rangers defense has been great in the playoffs are Lundqvist has been superb. The Devils were able to best the offensively gifted Philadelphia Flyers in just five games, but the Rangers offer an entirely different challenge. They have plenty of talented forwards, but unlike the Devils’ first two playoff opponents, New York’s best player is its goaltender.
Of course, even being able to challenge Lundqvist isn’t a simple task. The Rangers are known for their shot blocking abilities. Still, Parise thinks the Devils have a solution to that problem (which they would have also used against the Washington Capitals had they beaten the Rangers in Game 7 on Saturday).
“It will be important when we get possession of the puck in the zone to not throw it away and not necessarily look for a play right away,” Parise said. “They both come back and collapse pretty low and put five guys right in front of the net and they’re waiting for you to turn it over, so you can jump up in the rush. So, for us, either way we have to protect the puck well in the offensive zone.”
Lundqvist had a 1.41 GAA and .940 save percentage against the Devils in the regular season. We’ll see if he can be just as dominant against them in the playoffs.