New Jersey Devils 3, New York Rangers 2 (Series is TIED, 1-1)
Those Who Shined
1. David Clarkson, Right-Wing, New Jersey Devils
With the Devils on the brink of a two-game deficit in the Eastern Conference Finals, it wasn’t surprising that attacker David Clarkson came to the rescue. Clarkson tallied the game-winning goal just over two minutes into the final frame. This was his fourth game-winner in five career playoff goals and already his third of 2012. He now has nine points in this postseason, which is seven more than he had accumulated in his previous 20 playoff contests. Moving forward, beating Henrik Lundqvist four times will be no easy task, but Clarkson certainly helped the cause Wednesday night.
2. Bryce Salvador, Defenseman, New Jersey Devils
The 36-year-old defenseman has found his offensive stride at the perfect time in his lengthy NHL career. Bryce Salvador notched two assists in Wednesday’s nail-biter, which raised his playoff point total to eight. This puts him far beyond his highest postseason output, just one point behind his point total from the 2012 regular season and halfway to his career best 16-point season back in 08′-09′. Salvador also left the contest with a plus one rating, which speaks to his effort on both the offensive (obviously) and defensive end of the ice. I typically say that for lower seeds to take out the higher seeds someone unexpected has to emerge — this could be that guy for New Jersey.
3. Martin Brodeur, Goaltender, New Jersey Devils
For the second straight day I’ve decided to go with three stars all from the winning team, which is a bit odd. But, no one on the Rangers roster really stood out to me on Wednesday night. Instead, I have to give credit to the 40-year-old legend between the pipes for the Devils. He and Salvador are quickly proving that age is nothing but a number, as he sent away 23 of 25 snipes from New York in the victory. This marked the fourth consecutive game in which Brodeur gave up two goals or fewer, which undoubtably gives his unit a chance to win each night. And, let’s no forget that he did technically outdo the Hart Trophy finalist on the other end of the ice, Lundqvist.