New Jersey Devils went into Thursday night against the New York Rangers with a bevy of possibilities. One that se..."/> New Jersey Devils went into Thursday night against the New York Rangers with a bevy of possibilities. One that se..."/>

New Jersey Devils Take Series Lead Over New York Rangers

Apr 27, 2023; Newark, New Jersey, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Erik Haula (56) scores a goal on New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) during the second period in game five of the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 27, 2023; Newark, New Jersey, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Erik Haula (56) scores a goal on New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) during the second period in game five of the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports /
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The New Jersey Devils went into Thursday night against the New York Rangers with a bevy of possibilities. One that seemed unexpected was a performance as dominant as it ended up being.

The Good

Timo Meier is in Igor Shesterkin‘s head to such an extent that he is chasing and mouthing off to him after the whistle. Love to see this from a Devils player. If he nets one, it’s going to drive the other team nuts.

Kevin Bahl is still playing defensively solid. He landed two massive hits, including an old-timey hip check which led to a fight with the much smaller Barclay Goodrow. We’ve loved his play this season and especially in the playoffs.

The defense, as a whole, had a solid game. Jonas Siegenthaler was physical all night and at the end of the night, kept the tough play going while keeping his cool and not getting baited into a penalty. Massive props to him for a great game again. John Marino and Ryan Graves played a lot of tough minutes. They were strong all night and had a combined 11 shots blocked and spent a combined five minutes on the penalty kill. They played their role to a T and are a big reason this team is succeeding right now.

Nico Hischier had another solid game getting a point on an amazing highly skilled kick pass to Erik Haula. He also was super physical, being credited with six hits. He went right to the dirty areas whenever he could. He might not have a goal yet, but he has been very close a few times and is playing A+ playoff hockey.

Haula has been on fire for 20 games now and had two goals and an assist on the night but almost as importantly he played like Hischier did, going to the hard areas and doing every single little thing right to give this team a chance to win. He also made an incredible save to help Schmid get the shutout and make sure the Rangers have less confidence for Game 6.

The Bad

Jesper Bratt‘s play was awful again. In the first period, he had a 2-on-1 with Hischier and fed the pass directly into Adam Fox, so the team did not even get a scoring chance. Later in the game, he managed to fall over nothing with no pressure on him again and had an awful giveaway at the blue line that led to an Artemi Panarin chance. This was a game full of mistakes, and he followed it up with two power play giveaways. He should have been moved off the top powerplay already for Meier who at least can handle the puck and is a pest.

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Severson’s unsportsmanlike conduct penalty came at the worst time. He should be hearing about it after the game. The referee was caught audibly on the mic telling him to sit down. This came after a massive momentum surge for the leading Devils tanks to Kevin Bahl as well, and Severson almost ruined his partner’s good work by putting the team on the penalty kill and giving the Rangers a great chance to get back into the game.