NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — The Devils stayed remarkably cool against the chippy Flyers in their last series. But head coach Peter DeBoer broke his team’s stoic demeanor on Monday when he got into a screaming match with Rangers coach John Tortorella.
The coaches went at it through the press before Game 4, and the contest itself got ugly in the third period. A left jab from rugged Rangers forward Mike Rupp to the chest of Devils goalie Martin Brodeur highlighted the on-ice mayhem. That was the last straw for DeBoer.
“I think emotion takes over,” DeBoer said Tuesday, an off day for the Devils. “I took offense at what happened on the ice, and that was my outlet — right or wrong.”
Devils captain Zach Parise stood behind his suddenly-fiery coach. The teams head to Madison Square Garden for Wednesday night’s Game 5 with the Eastern Conference finals tied at two games apiece.
“He’s done a great job throughout the whole series keeping his cool. And when things have gone good or bad, he’s always done a really good job of keeping everything even-keel,” said Parise. “I don’t know if something just happened to push him over the edge (Monday) night. And that’s fine with us.”
Rupp became a prime symbol of the Rangers’ frustration in a game in which sloppiness cost New York dearly. Young defenseman Michael Del Zotto made numerous mistakes, including a pair that directly led to New Jersey’s second goal. Del Zotto played only sparingly the rest of the way after another gaffe early in the second period.
While the intensity is certainly expected to be at a high level for however long this series goes, both teams seem to think that there wouldn’t be much of a carryover of the extracurricular activities from Game 4.
“The rivalry is what I expected it to be. I’d heard about it. And it’s lived up to its billing,” said DeBoer. “I think the most important thing for us is the young guys learning to manage their emotions against a rival like the Rangers, and I think we’ve done a very good job of that.”
Brodeur said after Monday night’s win that he was surprised by the blow from Rupp, his former Devils teammate. He was impressed by his ability to take a punch and was ready to move on in his quest for a fourth Stanley Cup title — and first since he turned 40.
“It’s all forgotten,” Brodeur said. “It’s the playoffs. I think you need to put everything in check. What happened in one game usually doesn’t carry in the other ones. We know that it’s going to be emotional. It’s a hostile environment in the Garden. They’re going to try to be a little more physical the way they were late in the game.
“We have to do what we do and not worry about anything else. Just go in there and win the hockey game.”
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