Hischier-Led Devils Travel to Madison Square Garden

The Devils will look to snap a two-game losing streak tonight. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Match Overview

Tonight’s game will feature your New Jersey Devils, who own a 15-20-7 record, which puts them last in the Metropolitan Division, and the New York Rangers, who own a 20-18-4 record, which puts them seventh in the Metropolitan Division.

The Devils come into tonight’s game on a two-game losing streak. However, they have picked up points in six of their last seven games. They will once again be without Jesper Bratt and Jack Hughes. As for the rest of the lineup, we will not know more until head coach Alain Nasreddine speaks to media around 4:45 PM today.

The New York Rangers come into tonight’s game after defeating the Colorado Avalanche 5-3 on Tuesday. Before this victory, they were winless in three-straight while getting outscored 13-9. The Rangers have been giving up an astronomically large amount of goals lately – specifically 28 in their last seven games. Hopefully the Devils, a team who has been prone to struggling on offense, takes advantage of this tonight. Rookie netminder Igor Shesterkin – who started and picked up his first career victory on Tuesday – will make his second career start.

Tonight’s game will be at Madison Square Garden and is scheduled for 7:00 PM.

Projected Devils’ Lines

Check back at around 4:45 PM ET for full line-up news.

Projected Rangers’ Lines

Forwards:

  • Kreider/Zibanejad/Buchnevich
  • Panarin/Strome/Fast
  • Howden/Chytil/Kakko
  • Smith/McKegg/Fogarty

Defense:

  • Skjei/Trouba
  • Staal/DeAngelo
  • Lindgren/Fox

Goalies:

  • Shesterkin (Saved 29 of 32 shots in NHL-debut)
  • Lundqvist

What/Who to Watch

  • The Devils are going to have their hands full tonight with Artemi Panarin. After signing him this offseason – in an attempt to speed up their rebuild – Panarin has been unbelievable. He has 58 points (23G, 35A) in 42 games this season, which is sixth in the NHL. Panarin has also been extremely hot as of late, racking up 13 points in his last six games (three goals, 10 assists) and four multi-point games across this time. He anchors what is the Rangers’ second line so it’ll be interesting to see which pairing the Devils deploy on him.
  • The Rangers are an extremely poor analytical team. They rank in the basement of the league in several important categories, such as 31st in Corsi for percentage (CF%), 30th in expected goals for percentage (xGF%), and 31st in Corsi against per 60 minutes (CA/60). This means the Rangers give up a ton of opportunities and do not generate all that much. They usually have to rely on strong goaltending in their victories or be very opportunistic with the sparse scoring chances they get. Although the Devils are not much better in several of these categories, this is a very winnable game for them.
  • Forward Nico Hischier has taken his game to the next level since Taylor Hall was traded. He has 10 points (five goals, five assists) in his last 10 games while playing roughly 20 minutes a night against the opposition’s top lines. He topped it off in the Devils’ last game, as he tallied two points and scored a highlight-reel goal furthering his case for an NHL All-Star appearance. It’ll be interesting to see if this performance carries over today against the Devils’ biggest rival.
  • As far as special teams go, the Rangers have the upper-hand on the power play, and the Devils the upper-hand on the penalty kill. The Devils enter tonight with the 18th ranked penalty kill and 29th ranked power play. And the Rangers have the 14th ranked power play and the 20th ranked penalty kill. Special teams project to be a large factor in tonight’s game, as each team takes a large number of minor penalties, specifically the Rangers (the third-highest), and the Devils the 10th most in the league.

Tonight’s game can be seen on MSG+ at 7:00 PM.

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