NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Igor Shesterkin made 27 saves, Chris Kreider scored two power-play goals and the New York York Rangers stunned the New Jersey Devils 5-1 on Tuesday night in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.
Vladimir Tarasenko, Ryan Lindgren and Filip Chytil also scored for the Rangers. Adam Fox had four assists and Artemi Panarin had two in this seventh renewal of this river rivalry in the post-season, the first since 2012.
The Devils, who set franchise records with 112 points and 52 wins in the regular season and beat New York three times in four games, never got their rush game going. When they did threaten, they either missed the net or Shesterkin denied them.
Their only goal came on a penalty shot by Jack Hughes with 2:46 left to play. Vitek Vanecek had 18 saves.
The Rangers also won the special teams battle. Kreider scored on two of their three power plays and the Rangers blanked the Devils on their four man advantages — holding them without even a shot on goal — though the penalty shot came in place of a power play.
Game 2 is back here on Thursday night.
The Rangers, who finished third in the Metropolitan Division behind the Devils, set the tone in the opening 10 minutes and never looked back. They hit, they blocked shots and they were very physical around the net.
Devils captain Nico Hischier and Hughes were knocked to the ice early and often, with Rangers captain Jacob Trouba providing the big hits.
Tarasenko, who was acquired from St. Louis before the trade deadline, scored 4:58 into the game with a shot from between the circle on a nice pass K’Andre Miller.
Kreider scored on a tip at 9:30 with Miles Wood in the penalty box. Lindgren, who had one goal in the regular season, scored in close late in the second period and Kreider had another tip in early in the third.
After Hughes made his penalty shot, Chytil scored into an empty net.
NOTES: Devils D Luke Hughes, Jack’s brother, was a healthy scratch. The team’s No. 1 draft pick in 2021 signed out of college and played in the final two games of the regular season. … Akira Schmid was the Devils’ backup goalie instead of veteran Mackenzie Blackwood. … The Rangers didn’t get their first shot on goal in the second period until an Pananin shot was gloved by Vanecek with 11:08 left.
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Tom Canavan, The Associated Press