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NHL playoffs: New Jersey Devils down New York Rangers, advance to semis

New Jersey Devils forwards Jesper Bratt (63) and Jack Hughes logged a goal and assist, respectively, in a Game 7 victory over the New York Rangers on Monday in Newark, N.J. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI
1 of 5 | New Jersey Devils forwards Jesper Bratt (63) and Jack Hughes logged a goal and assist, respectively, in a Game 7 victory over the New York Rangers on Monday in Newark, N.J. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

May 2 (UPI) -- Goaltender Arika Schmid denied 31 shots and the New Jersey Devils scored four times over the final two periods in a lopsided Game 7 win over the New York Rangers to advance to the NHL's Eastern Conference semifinals.

Forwards Michael McLeod, Tomas Tatar, Erik Haula and Jesper Bratt each scored in the 4-0 victory Monday at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. Winger Ondrej Palat and defenseman John Marino registered two assists apiece for the No. 2 Devils.

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"Obviously, you want to close it out earlier," Schmid told reporters. "Sometimes you don't get to choose. We just had to refocus and tried to get the win. I'm glad we did."

Goaltender Igor Shesterkin made 20 saves for the No. 3 Rangers, who lost the series 4-3.

"We battled hard," Rangers defenseman Adam Fox said. "I feel bad for Igor. He battled all series. To not get any goal support for him obviously hurts.

"That's not how we wanted to go out. I thought our effort was there. We pressed hard. Credit to them. They are a good team. They have a lot of good players with speed and skill. But it's a tough feeling."

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The Devils will face the top-seeded Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The winner of that best-of-seven game series will meet the No. 2 Toronto Maple Leafs or wild card Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference finals.

McLeod put broke a scoreless tie Monday when he beat Shesterkin on a shorthanded goal 9:53 into the second period. Palat assisted that score.

Tatar doubled the lead less than six minutes later off assists from Marino and forward Nico Hischier. Haula and Bratt lit the lamp for the Devis in the third period. Forward Jack Hughes, Palat and Marino assisted those scores.

The Panthers will host the Devils in Game 1 at 7 p.m. EDT on Wednesday in Raleigh, N.C. The Maple Leafs will host the Panthers in Game 1 of that series at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Toronto.

The No. 2 Dallas Stars will host the wild card Seattle Kraken in Game 1 of a Western Conference semifinal series at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday in Dallas. The winner of the Kraken-Stars series will face the top-seeded Vegas Golden Knights or No. 2 Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference finals. Game 1 of the Golden Knights-Oilers series will be at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday in Las Vegas.

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