DAB Pregame: Devils Look To Stay Ahead Of Rangers In Division Standings

New Jersey Devils are set for an important division battle as they look to stay ahead of the Rangers in the Metropolitan Division (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Match Overview

The Devils come into tonight’s matchup having won their last two games, scoring five goals in each of those. The Rangers have fared quite well themselves having won their last three games and are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. The Devils currently sit second in the Metropolitan Division with 43 points, while the Rangers are right behind them at 41 points and in third place. The Devils won the team’s first matchup of the season 3-2 at Madison Square Garden. However, they were handed a thorough 5-2 beating by the Rangers just two weeks ago at MSG. This time, the Devils will host the Rangers at Prudential Center and look to stay ahead of New York in what is an extremely tight Metropolitan Division.

While the Devils will get Marcus Johansson back tonight, they’ll be without Jesper Bratt, who was stung blocking a shot on Monday night. Otherwise, the Devils will dress the same lineup as they did against the Ducks. Dalton Prout, Ben Lovejoy, and Jimmy Hayes will be the healthy scratches.

Projected Lineups

New York 

Kreider/Zibanejad/Buchnevich
Nash/Miller/Zuccarello
Grabner/Hayes/Fast
Carey/Desharnais/Vesey

McDonagh/Holden
Skjei/Shattenkirk
Staal/Smith

Lundqvist

New Jersey 

Hall/Hischier/Palmieri
Johansson/Zajac/Gibbons
Wood/Zacha/Stafford
Coleman/Boyle/Noesen

Moore/Vatanen
Greene/Santini
Butcher/Severson

Schneider

What to Watch

  • Both teams come into tonight’s matchup with hot goaltenders. Cory Schneider owns a .924 save percentage over his last eight starts while Henrik Lundqvist has a .927 save percentage over that same stretch and now sits above .920 for the season. Chances are there won’t be a ton of goals scored tonight because of how well these two are playing. When the Devils get their chances, they’ll have to take advantage of them because scoring has been hard to come by against Lundqvist in recent weeks.
  • The Devils have done a good job limiting high-danger chances this season, allowing the least in the league. On the flip side, the Rangers have generated the most high-danger chances in the league. New York tend to get outshot consistently, but are able to score because they’re aggressive on the counter-attack. If the Devils can limit those high-danger chances (like they have all season) the Rangers generate counter-attacking, it’ll help them secure two points tonight.
  • The Rangers line of Kreider/Zibanejad/Buchnevich has been a problem for teams to defend this season. They’re averaging a 55.8% Corsi when on the ice together while generating 54.4% of scoring chances and 61.9% of high-danger chances. I’d imagine John Hynes plans on using the Greene/Santini pairing as much as he can against that trio tonight. In 58 minutes together since the Vatanen trade, Greene/Santini have played much better together. They have a 48.4% Corsi For and have done a much better job limiting scoring chances. They’ll need to keep limiting those chances created by Zibanejad’s line tonight.

Tonight’s game can be seen on MSG+ 2 at 7 PM. 

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