The New Jersey Devils won the fifth game of the Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday night. They beat the New York Rangers by a final score of 5-3 to take a 3-2 series lead. For anyone that has seen all five games of this series, or even Wednesday's game, it should be clear that this series could still go a full seven games.
That was evident in Game 5 as the Rangers dug their way out of a 3-0 deficit in the first period. John Fisher at In Lou We Trust, SB Nation's Devils blog, cited New Jersey's win in spite of New York's hustle as reason for celebration and consternation.
I don't know about the rest of the fanbase, but I was delirious with excitement when the celebration began. After being out-shot (final: 28-17 Rangers), out-attempted (Devils were -10 in Fenwick and Corsi), out-drawn (Devils won 40% of all faceoffs tonight), out-worked, out-hustled, and simply out-played for the majority of the game, the Devils were leading. And the Devils shut it down with Zach Parise hitting another long-range empty net goal.
Let's be blunt for a change: The Rangers played their best game of this series and the Devils won 5-3. And the heroes of the night were Stephen Gionta and Ryan Carter. I admit I'm still trying to comprehend it, I can't say the Devils did well, I must say they have to be better in their next game, and I will agree that the Rangers' best was simply not enough tonight.
Over at Blueshit Banter, SB Nation's Rangers blog, Joe Fortunato pointed to a pair of soft goals given up by the usually strong Henrik Lundqvist as the team's ultimate undoing in Game 5. There was no concession in his conclusions.
Want to know something funny? I still think we win this series. This was by far the Rangers most dominating performance of this series, the bounces simply didn't go the Rangers' way. If they come out and play like that in Game 6 I think we'll see a different result. This team has handled adversity better than any other team left in the playoffs, and better than any team that was in the playoffs in the first place. If anyone can do this it's the Rangers.
Game 6 happens Friday at 8 p.m. ET at the Prudential Center in Newark.
For more on the Rangers vs. Devils NHL Playoff series, make sure to check out this SB Nation New York StoryStream. Meanwhile, the SB Nation blogs Blueshirt Banter and In Lou We Trust has all your commentary and discussion on the Eastern Conference Final.