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Girardi scored the first on a slap shot from the right point that was smartly set up by Kreider, who won an NCAA championship with Boston College barely a month ago, then made his pro debut in the NHL playoffs against Ottawa in the first round. He went from provider to scorer soon after, snaring a nifty backhand pass from Anisimov and firing a wrist shot in full stride that caught Brodeur flat-footed. Chants of "Mar-ty, Mar-ty" -- a taunt Rangers fans have used on the 40-year-old Brodeur dating back decades -- echoed around the Garden.
Yet Brodeur yielded only two goals in facing 27 shots and was in good enough spirits afterward to joke that he didn't get many looks at Lundqvist. And the few times he did, Brodeur said his view was obscured "because there were so many Rangers players in front of him."
The rest of the New Jersey locker room was buzzing with suggestions on how to thin out the traffic in front of the Rangers net: fake more shots, move the puck faster, be more selective about the shooting lanes. The one momentum-changing tactic that was a staple of the regular-season meetings between the Rangers and Devils -- the rough stuff -- barely came into play in Game 1.
New York's Mike Rupp was whistled for roughing with 1:27 left in the game after he retaliated against Steve Bernier for a hit on Girardi. But it was nothing like the full-scale fisticuffs that erupted the last time the two teams met, in March, when six players dropped the gloves seconds after the opening faceoff. Meanwhile, Tortorella and Devils coach Pete DeBoer, who both packed their starting lineups with little-used bruisers, exchanged less-than-pleasantries from the benches.
So tough as things seemed with so little rest, even Lundqvist had to concede they could have been worse.
"I didn't really know what to expect from this game, honestly," he said.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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