After two straight shootout losses, the Devils travel to Madison Square Garden for an important battle with their arch rivals from across the river. The Rangers come into tonight having won two in a row and are just four points ahead of the Devils for second place in the Metropolitan Division with a game at hand.
Getting a win tonight won’t be easy. The Rangers have a 19-5-2 record at MSG compared to 10-13-3 on the road. The Devils are accountable for one of the Rangers OT losses at MSG after defeating them 2-1 in their first matchup of the season thanks to a Lee Stempniak game-winner.
These two teams met up just a week ago with New Jersey coming away with a thrilling 3-2 victory. David Schlemko and Joseph Blandisi scored two third period goals and Schneider stopped 31/33 shots he faced as the Devils held on at The Rock.
The Devils will be without Mike Cammalleri once again as remains out with a hand injury; the same injury that bothered him prior to the All-Star break. Damon Severson was one of four players to take part in an optional practice Sunday. John Hynes said it is to be determined whether Severson draws back into the lineup after being a healthy scratch for two games. The Rangers will be without Rick Nash, who is out with a bone bruise in his left leg. Ryan McDonagh suffered a concussion on Saturday and will also be out of the lineup tonight.
Cory Schneider…He’s been the backbone of the Devils success this season. Schneider was solid in defeat against Washington having stopped 27/29 shots. On the season he has a .929 save percentage with a 2.03 goals against average. Although he’s only faced the Rangers twice this season, he has a .950 save percentage against them.
Henrik Lundqvist…Much like Schneider, Lundqvist has been a big reason for the Rangers success this season. After getting off to an incredibly hot start, Lundqvist has cooled down, but still boasts an impressive .920 save percentage with a 2.40 goals against average. Lundqvist has an impressive track record against the Devils. He’s 33-15-7 with a .931 save percentage and 1.88 goals against average, so expect him to be on his game tonight.
Players to Watch
Joseph Blandisi…He’s provided the Devils with an offensive spark since being called up a month ago. He had another good game against Washington Saturday, tallying a goal and an assist with 17:21 TOI. He has 5 points in his last 5 games and 10 points in 14 games season this season. The Devils will need him to continue his success tonight if they want to walk away with a win.
Derick Brassard…He’s been fantastic for the Rangers as of late. He has 8 points in his last 5 games including a 5 point night against Buffalo on January 25th. The Devils were able to limit him to just one assist in their matchup a week ago. If they can limit the damage caused by Brassard, that should improve their chances.
What to Watch
- Goaltending…This shouldn’t need much explanation, but tonight’s matchup will feature two of the best goaltenders in the game. Schneider has had the upper hand this year. Will he be able to pull out his third straight win against New York?
- Special Teams…They played an important role in the Devils 3-2 victory a week ago. They went 2/2 on the power play while killing off all four Rangers power plays they faced. If they’re able to come out with the special teams advantage tonight, that should greatly improve their chances.
Where and When To Watch
7pm on MSG+