“‘I feel like everyone is obsessed with this shot-blocking because that’s what they’re doing,” said Zach Parise, hunched at his locker after New Jersey’s 3-0 loss to the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final, his brow knotted up. “A lot of teams block shots. We have to get around it.”
Blocked shots have become a much-discussed topic in this post-season, and the Rangers are the main reason why. New York has blocked 293 shots in 15 games, second only to the departed Washington Capitals; there are four Rangers in the top 10, and their top defensive pair, Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh, lead the league with 52 and 42, respectively. In Game 1, New York blocked five more shots than they allowed to reach Henrik Lundqvist.
Now, the 2009-10 Montreal Canadiens actually blocked two more shots per game in the playoffs, and three other teams blocked more shots than New York in the regular season, and the recent spike in blocked shots has been going on for the past three years. And for the Rangers it is not everything, because that would be crazy.
But it is a central tenet of this series, to the point that the Devils are already trying not to think too hard on it.