Game Preview – Game 53: Your New Jersey Devils @ New York Rangers
New Jersey Devils (30-19-3, 63 points) vs New York Rangers (33-12-5, 71 points)
7:00 PM EST
TV: MSG+ 2
Radio: WFAN 660 AM
Tonight will be the third of six matchups between the Atlantic Division rivals, and the first of three to be played at Madison Square Garden. So far this season, the Devils and Rangers each have collected a win. The last game between the two was last Tuesday which saw the Devils tie the game in the closing seconds and take the win in a shootout.
Devils Looking For First Five-Game Winning Streak This Season:
The Devils find themselves 4-0-0 since the All-Star break and have tied their highest winning streak this season at four games. Three of the four wins have come across Atlantic Division rivals who are above the Devils in the standings. The Devils have been on an offensive surge since the All-Star break outscoring their opponents 20-12. Ilya Kovalchuk, who was named this past week’s number two star throughout the NHL, has four goals and seven assists in the first four matchups of the unofficial second-half of the season.
Looking at upcoming games, the Devils really need to pull out wins if they wish to continue climbing the standings. Future games consist of: at Rangers, vs Blues, vs Panthers, vs Sabres, and vs Ducks. The toughest of the next few games will be the Rangers and the Blues, two of the top six teams in the entire league. Despite St. Louis not being in the same conference as the Devils, a win against them on Thursday will be great momentum to carry the Devils through the rest of the season.
In order to secure a “W” tonight, the Devils defense needs to pick up. The main problem lately for the D is not being able to clear rebounds from in front of the net. This has been a concern in the games against the Rangers last Tuesday, Montreal and Philadelphia. Three of the four Flyers goals came from not being able to clear a rebound from in front. The defense appeared better in Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh, but the Devils have to make sure that they don’t get too comfortable on this winning streak.
Projected Devils Lineup:
Parise (C) – Elias (A) – Kovalchuk (A)
Sykora – Zubrus- Clarkson
Ponikarovsky- Henrique- Bernier
Boulton – Josefson- Janssen
Taormina – Foster
The Latest on the New York Rangers:
The Rangers are also coming off a big win against Philadelphia this past weekend. Sunday saw the Blue Shirts take a 5-2 win over their Winter Classic opponents. Star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist stopped 21 shots for his fourth straight win as the Rangers continue to show that they are a force to be reckoned with atop the standings.
The bright side for the Devils going into tonight’s game is the Rangers’ powerplay has only converted twice in its last 44 chances, and haven’t scored on a 5-on-4 situation in over a month.
Defenseman Steve Eminger (shoulder) could be medically cleared to play tonight. If he does, expect rookie Stu Bickel to lose his roster spot.
Projected Rangers Lineup:
Hagelin – Stepan – Gaborik
Dubinsky – Richards (A) – Callahan (C)
Fedotenko – Boyle - Prust
Rupp – Anisimov – Mitchell
McDonagh – Girardi
Del Zotto – Stralman
Staal (A) – Bickel
There will be a viewing party tonight at Texas-Arizona in Hoboken, NJ hosted by the Devils Army Generals. There will be trivia, giveaways, food & drink specials and more! Click here to visit the Facebook Event!
Posted on February 7, 2012, in Devils Army, Game Preview, New Jersey Devils, NHL and tagged Adam Henrique, Brad Richards, David Clarkson, Devils, henrik lundqvist, Ilya Kovalchuk, jeff woywitka, marian gaborik, Martin Brodeur, New Jersey, New Jersey Devils, new york, Patrik Elias, Prudential Center, Rangers, steve eminger, Travis Zajac. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.