Inevitably, the Rangers were going to lose back-to-back games this season. However, it stings a little extra when it's your Atlantic Division rival.
The Rangers were trying to shake off Monday night's 7 - 3 offensive barrage by the San Jose Sharks, but were unable to capture the smart swift play they exhibited during their seven game winning streak.
Early on, the Rangers had a physical presence and were creating opportunities in the offensive zone. Yet, the setup time didn't lead to quality shots, it merely led to cycling and passing. Then a defensive miscue by Dan Girardi put the Devils ahead 1 - 0.
Following the first goal, the Rangers sat back and lost the physical presence they brought early on. Their passes weren't crisp and they second thought every action on the ice, which led to missed opportunities.
New Jersey played their system and played it well.
As Vinny Prospal said, "They wait for you to make a mistake and then they capitalize."
"We were not as sharp as we should have been."
Marc Staal exhibited just how "sharp" the Rangers were as he skated into the neutral zone, but failed to get the puck deep. The puck turned over with Staal caught up ice and the oddman rush led to the second Devils' goal.
With 40 minutes to play, there wasn't much for the Rangers to rest their hat on. They had been outworked and were behind 2 - 0 going into arguably their weakest period of the season.
Yet, the Rangers regained form, thanks to some line tweaking by Tortorella. They came out hard and began putting more shots to the net, while pressuring Martin Brodeur in the crease, something they had not done during the first period.
Finally, their work paid off as a Devils' penalty led to a quick goal by Marian Gaborik, assisted by Prospal and Ales Kotalik.
Kotalik would later tie the game at 2 - 2 as the Rangers pressured throughout the entire period.
The second period-jinx seemed to have been broken. Now the Rangers were faced with defeating their rivals in perhaps their strongest period, the third.
Tortorella continued to tweak lines, trying to get Enver Lisin and Kotalik more ice time. Chris Drury centered the third line while Artem Anisimov played wing on the fourth.
But the Rangers couldn't break Brodeur a third time and the Devils got the go-ahead goal on a questionable goal against Henrik Lundqvist.
"I cheated too much as I was expecting the guy coming behind the net," said Lundqvist. "2 - 2 game, that's a tough one."
New York couldn't rally following the goal and missed opportunities by Ryan Callahan and Michal Rozsival would seal the deal for the Devils.
New Jersey added an empty net goal at the end.
For more post-game notes and quotes, as well as extended coverage, visit Blueshirt Bulletin Plus. Not a subscriber? Visit our Subscribe page for full access to the Blueshirt Bulletin!