NEWARK, N.J. — Martin Brodeur made 27 saves and survived a third-period punch to the chin by old buddy Mike Rupp as the New Jersey Devils defeated the New York Rangers, 4-1, on Monday night in Game 4 to even the Eastern Conference Finals at 2 games apiece.
Zach Parise had two goals and an assist and Bryce Salvador and Travis Zajac beat Henrik Lundqvist less than four minutes apart in the first period in a series where the intensity and the emotions are picking up.
Brodeur even notched an assist in the third, on Parise’s empty netter, capping a game in which the Devils maintained their composure and bounced back from a 3-0 shutout in Game 3, while the Rangers took several uncharacteristic penalties and seemed rattled from the start. Game 5 is Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.
This game was one where the chippiness increased with each period. New York’s Marc Staal whacked Patrik Elias in the back of the knee with his stick in the second. Ryan Callahan, the Rangers captain, and New Jersey’s Ilya Kovalchuk tussled. And finally, Rupp, a former Devil who scored the Stanley Cup-clinching goal for New Jersey in 2003, jabbed Brodeur in his crease in the third after a stoppage in play.
That almost set off a free-for-all among the players on the ice, especially after Brodeur reacted like he had been hit by a roundhouse right.
Ruslan Fedotenko ruined Brodeur’s bid for his 25th career playoff shutout with just over five minutes to play.
The Rangers pulled Lundqvist with less than three minutes to play, and Brodeur made two outstanding saves to keep it a two-goal game.