Newark, N.J. —The New Jersey Devils showed up but their inexperience but they left their skates in the locker room in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
It was the first meeting of the post-season between these two rivals since 2012, the more experienced NY Rangers applied the pressure out of the gate and took advantage of the jittery Devils’ team, building a 2-0 lead over New Jersey after 20 minutes of game time, and 3-0 after 40.
“I think there’s always jitters, it’s just how you handle them,” Erik Haula said, “I think we learned a bit of a lesson, I think we’re going to be fine going forward.”
Igor Shesterkin made 27 saves, Chris Kreider punched in two power-play goals and the Rangers beat the Devils 5-1 on Tuesday night in the team’s first postseason meeting since 2012.
“He has been our best player,” said Kreider of Shesterkin. ”He’s playing with a lot of confidence.”
The Devils had six players in the lineup playing in the postseason for the first time and five others who had played a few playoff contests.
Jack Hughes scored the Devils only goal of the game, a penalty-shot goal with 2:46 to play to avoid the shut out.
“You’ve got to give them credit, they blocked a lot of shots,” head coach Lindy Ruff said post-game, “They were better in the shot lanes than we were. That’s what our guys have to understand now, every shot on net is an important shot now.”
There was problems in all facets of their game for the Devils going 0-for-4 on the power play, while the penalty killers gave up two goals on three Rangers power plays. The Rangers nearly doubled the number of blocked shots and had 10 fewer giveaways (3) than the Devils (13).
“Obviously not the way we wanted to start,” captain Nico Hischier added, “but it’s one game, we’ve got a game on Thursday to tie this up. We’ve got to focus on that right now.”
Devils will play game two against the Rangers at the Prudential Center for a 7:30 P.M. start time.