Monday, May 21, 2012

A Look Back; Game 4 of the '94 Eastern Conference Finals

The New York Rangers took a 2-1 series lead on the Devils Saturday afternoon with a 3-0 shutout. Henrik Lundqvist was stellar in net, and made many key saves including one on Ilya Kovalchuck's breakaway chance.
The New Jersey Devils came out strong and fast in Game 4, and blitzed the Rangers in the first period. Midway through the first period Stephane Richer scored on the power play and gave the Devils a well deserved 1-0 lead. Later in the first period Bill Guerin beat Mike Richter on a breakaway, and the Devils held a 2-0 lead after the first period.

Head Coach Mike Keenan decided to pull Rangers goaltender Mike Richter, and replace him with Glenn Healy in what looked to be a move to motivate his team, and relay his frustration to his team.

The Rangers play improved in the second period, and Game 3 hero Stephane Matteau cut the Devils lead to 2-1.

In the third period, the Devils extended their lead to 3-1 with just under seven minutes to play, when Glenn Healy made a gaffe behind the Rangers goal, and allowed Valeri Zelepukin to put the puck into an empty net.  The Rangers could not recover and the Devils took Game 4 by a 3-1 score, and tied the series at two games apiece.

Mike Kennan made multiple controversial moves in Game 4 that over shadowed the game itself. Aside from pulling Richter in the first period, Keenan kept both Mark Messier and Brian Leetch on the bench for long periods during the game. Keenan tried to send a maessage to his team that he was not going to accept their intensity and play. The Rangers answered with a goal in the second period, but the Devils were too much.

The series moved back to Madison Square Garden for Game 5, and the series even at two.

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