Rangers, Devils Advance
(4/27/12) And then there were eight. The final bell sounded on the first round Thursday, with the regular season's Eastern Conference champs downing the upstart Ottawa Senators once and for all, and with the New Jersey Devils finally exterminating the rats nest in Florida.
First in New York, it was a pair of defensemen who scored both goals for the Rangers. Mark Staal and Dan Girardi each tallied in the second period, while Daniel Alfredsson was the only Senator who managed to beat Henrik Lundqvist. With all the chips in the middle, Lundqvist (26 saves) played his best game of the series - yet Craig Anderson (27 saves) was equally impressive. The Rangers advance to face the upstart Washington Capitals.
In Florida, Game 7 between the Devils and Panthers was another goaltender's battle. Jose Theodore (35 saves) and Marty Brodeur (43 saves) both made multiple saves at key junctures in the contest, but it was Calder candidate Adam Henrique who finally sealed the deal in favor of New Jersey at 3:47 of the second overtime. He scored his second goal of the game from Clarkson (2A) and Ponikarovsky. Weiss and Goc scored for the Panthers, and Samuelsson and Bergenheim both recorded another assist in what ends as a decent round of fantasy production for the Swamp Cats. The Devils move on to face the Flyers, which is where we think their playoff ride will end.