DAB Pre-Game: Rivalry at the Rock – Part One (2/2/2016)

Following a five-day break due to All-Star festivities in Nashville, Cory Schneider and the New Jersey Devils (25-20-5) are ready to face our rivals from across the Hudson River, the New York Rangers (27-17-5), at 7:00 PM tonight in Newark at Prudential Center as each team begins the second half of the regular season.

Tonight’s game in Newark is the second matchup of the season between these two teams. The first took place at Madison Square Garden on October 18th, 2015, when Lee Stempniak scored in OT to give the New Jersey Devils their first victory of this regular season. Devils goaltender Cory Schneider made 26 saves and Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist made 22 saves that afternoon.

After tonight, the Devils will face off against the Rangers two more times this season on February 8th at Madison Square Garden and on February 23rd at Prudential Center.

The Devils are coming off a 2-0 shutout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins last week at CONSOL Energy Center in which Cory Schneider made 29 saves on 31 shots. As a result of losing in Pittsburgh, the Devils snapped a four-game win streak and will look to begin the second half of the season on a high note with a victory against New York tonight.

The Rangers are coming into tonight’s game on a four-game win streak. They most recently played last Monday at Madison Square Garden and defeated the Buffalo Sabres, 6-3. New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist stopped 23 of 26 shots on goal in a full 60 minutes of ice time and Rangers forward Derick Brassard earned first-star honors after leading his team in points in the game with 2 goals and 3 assists. Dylan McIlrath, Viktor Stalberg, J.T. Miller, and Mats Zuccarello also scored for the Rangers on Monday.

Projected Line Combinations:

New Jersey Devils (as of Monday’s practice in Newark, per Tom Gulitti):

Forwards:

Joseph Blandisi-Adam Henrique-Lee Stempniak

Sergey Kalinin-Travis Zajac-Kyle Palmieri

Reid Boucher-Jacob Josefson-Tyler Kennedy

Bobby Farnham-Stephen Gionta-Jordin Tootoo

Extra forwards: Tuomo Ruutu, Stefan Matteau

Defensemen:

Andy Greene-Adam Larsson

Eric Gelinas-David Schlemko

Seth Helgeson-Damon Severson

Extra defenseman: John Moore

Goaltenders: Cory Schneider, Keith Kinkaid.

New Jersey Devils Injury List: LW/RW Ryane Clowe (concussion symptoms, out indefinitely), LW Patrik Elias (knee, injured reserve), C/LW Jiri Tlusty (wrist, will miss the remainder of the regular season), D John Moore (lower-body, injured reserve), C/LW Michael Cammalleri (upper-body, injured reserve).

New York Rangers (per Daily Faceoff): 

Forwards:

Mats Zuccarello-Derick Brassard-Jesper Fast

Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-J.T. Miller

Oscar Lindberg-Kevin Hayes-Viktor Stalberg

Daniel Paille-Dominic Moore-Tanner Glass

Defensemen:

Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi

Marc Staal-Kevin Klein

Keith Yandle-Dylan McIlrath

Goaltenders: Henrik Lundqvist, Antti Raanta.

New York Rangers Injury List: LW/RW Rick Nash (leg, missed Monday’s practice; questionable for tonight’s game)

Projected Goaltending Matchup:

New Jersey Devils:

New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider.

New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider. (Getty Images)

Cory Schneider (Record: 22-15-5 in 42GP, .929 SV%, 2.03 GAA) Among all goaltenders this season, Cory Schneider has been stellar despite carrying the heaviest workload with 42 games played this season. Similar to tonight’s opposing goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist, Cory Schneider has not let in more than 3 goals in his last five games played. This season, the first-time NHL All-Star ranks 3rd in GAA (2.03), 1st in games played (42), 6th in wins (22), 2nd in losses (15), and 1st in minutes played (2,510).

New York Rangers:

New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. (Getty Images)

New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. (Getty Images)

Henrik Lundqvist (Record: 23-13-4 in 41GP, .921 SV%, 2.41 GAA): In his eleventh season with the Blueshirts, the one-time Vezina Trophy winner has continued to please between the pipes for New York. In his last five games, Lundqvist has not let in more than 3 goals. He most recently played in the Rangers’ 6-3 win against Buffalo last Monday at Madison Square Garden, totaling 23 saves on 26 shots on goal.

Players to Watch:

New York Rangers:

New York Rangers forward Derick Brassard. (Getty Images)

New York Rangers forward Derick Brassard. (Getty Images)

Derick Brassard (17G-19A, 36 points in 48 GP): The top-line New York Rangers forward leads the New York Rangers in points (36), ranks second on the team in goals scored this season (17), and third on the team in assists (19). He tallied 5 points (2G-3A) in New York’s most recent victory against the Buffalo Sabres last Monday at Madison Square Garden.

New Jersey Devils:

New Jersey Devils forward Lee Stempniak. (Getty Images)

New Jersey Devils forward Lee Stempniak. (Getty Images)

Lee Stempniak (14G-22A, 36 points in 50 GP): The former New York Rangers forward and career journeyman has been thriving in his top-six role in New Jersey this season. Stempniak ranks second on the team in assists (22), second in points (36), and is tied for third in goals scored this season with Michael Cammalleri (14). Stempniak netted two goals in the Devils’ most recent victory on January 23rd in Winnipeg.

Credits to NHL.com, hockey-reference.com, Tom Gulitti, and dailyfaceoff.com, for all statistical data and pre-game information.

Credits to Getty Images for all images used.

Tonight’s game will be televised on MSG+ with pre-game coverage beginning at 6:30 PM and puck drop at 7:00. It will also be broadcasted on WFAN Sports Radio (101.9 FM) with Matt Loughlin and Sherry Ross beginning at 6:30 PM.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all updates before, during, and after the game.

Nick Papadimas is a New Jersey native, New Jersey Devils season ticket holder, and avid hockey fan. He is an aspiring sports journalist and high school student who has also covered high school sports and local events for TAPinto.net since 2012. He has been credentialed on behalf of the NJSIAA and TAPinto.net to cover high school sports since 2013. Nick may be reached on Twitter (@ngpaps) or by e-mail at papadimasn@icloud.com.

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