Just two days after their second Game 7 of the 2012 NHL playoffs, the New York Rangers won the opening game of the Eastern Conference finals against fierce local rival, the New Jersey Devils.
The Rangers have now won all of their Game 1s in this year's playoffs - but the last two series against the Ottawa Senators and the Washington Capitals have both gone the distance. New York are bidding to become the first team to win the Stanley Cup after being forced to play seven game series in the first two rounds of the postseason.
The 3-0 scoreline on the night, however, flattered the Rangers as all the goals came in the third period and the last was into an empty net. Until that last period it was yet another tight, tense game at Madison Square Garden.
New York's Henrik Lundqvist claimed bragging rights in the first round of the battle of the star veteran goalies against Martin Brodeur. The Rangers keeper stopped 21 shots, while the Devils' goaltender had 25.
Chris Kreider, Dan Girardi and Artem Anisimov all had a goal and an assist in the third period.
Rookie Kreider, playing just his 13th NHL game, celebrated his first birthday three days after Brodeur, now 40, made his playoff debut. Brodeur was making his 183rd consecutive playoff start for the Devils and is the only player from the 1994 Rangers-Devils series still playing in the NHL.
Brodeur heard taunting chants of "Mar-ty, Mar-ty" before the game started, which got much louder after Girardi's goal, and even more so after Kreider scored. The chant reappeared after the third goal - despite the fact that it was an empty net goal with Brodeur off the ice as the Devils desperately tried to claw back the difference.
The Devils had been off for five days since they knocked out the Philadelphia Flyers in five games, but the Rangers shook off suggestions they are tired, battling through two scoreless periods and before dominating the third.
It is the Rangers first conference finals since 1997, and they haven't reached the Stanley Cup finals since 1994 when they beat 22-year-old goalie Brodeur and the Devils in a classic seven-game series.
New Jersey is making its first conference finals appearance since 2003, the year the Devils won the Cup for the third time.
Game 2 is Wednesday night in New York.