posted on May 24, 2012 11:15
Devils takes Rangers on the road in Game 5
So much for the home-ice advantage in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The New Jersey Devils jumped out to a 3-0 lead when Travis Zajac scored 9:49 in to give the Devils a three-goal lead but lost it completely and all the momentum.
But the game, and perhaps the entire Eastern Conference finals, changed in the blink of an eye when Ryan Carter put the Devils in front to stay.
Carter snapped a tie with 4:24 left, and New Jersey survived en route to a 5-3 victory over New York after blowing a three-goal lead in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday night.
Carter, who had only four goals and four assists in 72 games with Florida and New Jersey, already has three goals in the playoffs, including two in the East finals.
The Devils, who led 3-0 before the first period was half over, have a 3-2 edge in the series and can advance to face the Los Angeles Kings in the finals with a win at home on Friday night. If the Rangers can stay alive, Game 7 would be back in Madison Square Garden on Sunday.
The Devils seemed primed for an easy win when Stephen Gionta and Patrik Elias scored within the first 4:13. Zajac made it 3-0 before the Rangers woke up and began chipping away.
Brandon Prust brought New York within 3-1 before the first period was over, and Ryan Callahan made it a one-goal game in the first minute of the second. The Garden really rocked when Marian Gaborik tied it at 3 just 17 seconds into the third.
Then Carter put the Devils back in front, and Zach Parise sealed it with an empty-net goal.
Since the 2004 NHL lockout, the Devils are 4-2 in potential series-clinching games, but none of their wins have come at home, where they will play Friday's Game 6 against the Rangers.
Ilya Kovalchuk knocked Michael Del Zotto off the puck in the right corner, and Gionta sent a pass in front to Carter -- who had just charged in front from the bench -- for a quick shot that beat Henrik Lundqvist.