Game 48: New Jersey Devils at New York Rangers
Your New Jersey Devils (19-18-10) will take the ice for the final time this season on Saturday afternoon, as they take on their cross-town rivals, the New York Rangers (25-18-4) for the fourth time this season. The Devils are 1-2-0 against the Rangers this season, taking the first meeting by a score of 3-1, then losing the next two 3-2 and 4-1. The Rangers will look to move as high as 6th in the Eastern Conference standings, depending on the results of the last two games for the Ottawa Senators.
New Jersey Devils
The Devils are coming off an impressive come-from-behind win over the Eastern Conference leading Pittsburgh Penguins, tallying three unanswered goals in a 3-2 victory during the final home game of the regular season. Travis Zajac, David Clarkson, and Ilya Kovalchuk all scored for the Devils and they gave the loyal fanbase one more impressive show for a season that was disappointing following the Stanley Cup Finals run last year. The win gave the Devils a 13-9-2 record at The Rock this year. The Devils have won 4 of their last 5 games following a 10-game losing streak (0-6-4), the only loss coming in Madison Square Garden last weekend, when the Rangers eliminated the Devils from playoff contention with a 4-1 win. For David Clarkson, Patrik Elias, and a few other Devils, the game may be their last as a member of Jersey’s Team as they enter the 2013 off-season as unrestricted free agents. Obviously, with the departure of *NAME REDACTED* last season, fans are already nervous of some players jumping ship for other teams, but we won’t know anything for sure until the season is over and offers are made to players. Until then, the Devils still have one more game to play, and will look to finish the season with a 3-game winning streak, and wins in 5 of their last 6 games.
New York Rangers
The Rangers locked themselves into a playoff spot on Thursday night with a 4-3 overtime win over the Carolina Hurricanes. The results of this game will determine where they stand in the playoffs. A win would guarantee them a spot no lower than 7th, moving ahead of the New York Islanders (55 pts) and no higher than 6th. A loss would keep them behind the Islanders with 54 points, and would mean they would finish in 7th or 8th depending on what the Ottawa Senators (24-16-6, 54 pts) do in their final two games. Two regulation losses would tie the Senators with the Rangers, giving the Rangers the 7th seed as they hold the tie-breaker. Any points gained by the Senators in those two games, and the Rangers will get 8th place and the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round. So while the game won’t be do-or-die for the Rangers on Saturday, it will have a significant impact on who they face in the first round of the playoffs.
What to Watch For
While the Devils would have loved to play the spoiler for New York’s playoff hopes, that opportunity passed on Thursday, but they can at least dictate who the Rangers face in the first round. Johan Hedberg will get the call in net for the Devils after putting on a strong show against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night. Henrik Lundqvist will likely get the start for the Rangers, making that his 14th consecutive start, but Martin Biron could very well get the nod as he hasn’t played since March 30, and could give Lundqvist some rest before the playoffs. There’s no question this game will be played with some fiery passion on both sides of the ice; Devils/Rangers games always have been, regardless of the standings. Look for the Devils to put on a show and finish the season strong, while the Rangers will look for a final regular season win for the home crowd to get themselves a better standing in the playoffs.
As this is the last Game Preview of the 2013 season, I’d like to say: Thank You to the Devils Generals for allowing me to write these previews, and Thank You to Devils Army for reading them, sharing them, and dealing with my bad jokes or pun-filled titles. It’s been a crazy season, and I look forward to seeing all of you here again next season and during the off-season.
Posted on April 27, 2013, in Devils Army, Devils Army Generals, Game Preview, New Jersey Devils, New Jersey Devils Fans, NHL and tagged David Clarkson, henrik lundqvist, Ilya Kovalchuk, Johan Hedberg, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.