Devils look ahead to Game 2 to tie series up with Rangers

Nico Hischier, the Devils captain, stated it best and most succinctly in the immediate aftermath of his team’s 5-1 rout by the Rangers in Game 1 of the first-round playoff series Tuesday night at Prudential Center.

“Obviously not the we wanted to start it here,” Hischier said in a dead-quiet Devils dressing room. “But it’s one game. We have a chance on Thursday to tie this up. We’ve got to focus on that right now.”

It’s probably best that way considering how outmatched and outplayed the Devils were from the start, as they fell behind 2-0 halfway through the first period.

“Our effort wasn’t lacking,” Hischier said. “I think we were all excited for tonight. Now we’ve just got to look at what we did wrong and focus on Game 2 here. It’s a seven-game series.”

One of the things the Devils did wrong was going 0-for-5 on power plays, and failing to put a single shot on goal with the man advantage.

“We didn’t use our chances on power plays tonight,” Hischier said. “Special teams definitely hurt us. We’ve to look at that. We weren’t at our best today. Pretty quickly here, we’re already focused on Game 2. We need to win that one.”

Nico Hischier moves around Niko Mikkola during the second period.
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Game 2 will be Thursday night at Prudential Center.

Erik Haula, one of the Devils with playoff experience, vowed that his team will be at its best in Game 2, based on the way it bounced back after tough defeats this season.

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“We’ve done it all year long,” Haula said. “Whenever people doubt us, that’s when you see our best game. We’re already focused on Game 2 and will be making some adjustments I’m sure.”

Haula, too, lamented the missed power-play opportunities.

“They did a good job of getting lanes,” he said. “I thought we did have some looks. But that’s now it is. It’s hard to score, especially in the playoffs, and their goalie was good. We just have to do a better job of getting more pucks to the net, creating more chances and making it harder for their goalie to save them.

“We have to deliver more pucks and create more traffic. I’m sure there’ll be an emphasis of trying to attack the net a little bit more.”