Madness at the Rock

How the New Jersey Devils have a franchise-changing game against the Rangers

A look at the game from the fan’s perspective inside the Prudential Center in game 5 of the NHL playoffs.

Connor Kelly

A look at the game from the fan’s perspective inside the Prudential Center in game 5 of the NHL playoffs.

As tens of thousands of fans pour into the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, there is only one thing on their mind: survive and advance. The only thing in the Devils’ path is a scrappy team from New York, the Rangers. 


On May 1, game seven between the New Jersey Devils and the New York Rangers will be played to determine who moves on to the next round. The series has not been easy for either team as both have had to battle back and forth all series for this moment. The puck drop for this highly anticipated matchup is set for 8 p.m.


“After the Devils went down 2-0, with both losses at home… I thought it was over,” says junior Gio Greco. “I am really happy with how the team responded despite being down by two games, especially with such a young team.” The Devils are the third youngest team in the NHL with an average age of 26.


The starting goalies will be Akira Schmid for the Devils while Igor Shesterkin will be between the pipes for the Rangers. Shesterkin, often widely known as one of the best goaltenders in the league, has a 37-13-8 record with a top-10 save percentage of 0.916. Shesterkin will be a big part of this game if the Rangers want any chance to win. 


However, on the other side, Schmid has been a brick wall recently, and has even been referred to by teammates as “Schmido the torpedo”. After subbing in for Vitek Vanachek in net, Schmid has had an astonishing 0.94 save percentage, and that includes a game 4 where zero goals were allowed.  


“To put in Schmid takes a lot of guts,” says senior Anthony Masherelli. “Lindy Ruff (Head Coach) knows his roster and it is showing, that is a remarkable substitution.” Vanachek is a guy that started for most of the season prior to Schmid’s substitution.


Including the goalie matchups, this game could go either way. However, one important thing to note is the penalty minutes throughout this series. The Devils and Rangers combined for 136 penalty minutes whether it was roughing, tripping, or a hook. This puts a lot of pressure on the team’s penalty kill and that is the big difference between games one, two, and six versus games three, four, and five. This game will be a matter of who can stay out of the penalty box. 


“I think the Rangers will win this game,” says senior Avery Cohen. “I will be there too and the place will be going crazy after all the penalties the Devils.” Cohen thinks the penalties for the Devils will catch up to them.  


The Devils are a much younger team than the Rangers, but that does not mean more physical. The Rangers are known for their huge hitters like Jacob Trouba while the Devils eliminate teams with their speed. In this game seven at the Prudential Center, either team could advance.