The New Jersey Devils host the New York Rangers at the Prudential Center tonight in what will be their final home game for the 2018-2019 NHL season. You know what they say, time flies when you’re having fun, but it moves even faster if you’re losing so many games your fans start to encourage a tank.
While the Devils may not be playoff bound, neither are the Rangers. In terms of playoff implications, tonight’s game may be worthless in the eyes of the NHL, but no game is ever worthless when it comes to the Devils and Rangers rivalry. Expect both teams to come out swinging to face off against their fiercest and bitter rivals.
Players to Watch
Drew Stafford: Stafford rarely scores, but when he does, he usually scores over consecutive games. With a goal in the Devils OT loss to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night, it won’t be too farfetched to see him score a goal against the Rangers tonight. He may not produce the pretty, highlight-reel goals that Taylor Hall, Kyle Palmieri, and Nico Hischier can, but as long as it crosses the goal line, that’s all that matters.
Kenny Agostino: After playing left wing on a line with Hischier and Palmieri against the Blues, Agostino will be alongside Hischier with Blake Coleman at right wing. While Agostino has been impressive as a
Brendan Lemieux: After being benched for the Rangers’ game against the Philadelphia Flyers, Lemieux will join them on the ice against the Devils. The 2014 second-round pick, taken one pick after Devils selection John Quenneville, was traded to the Rangers following a deadline deal with the Winnipeg Jets. By no means will he be best the best player on the ice, but he is the son of two time Devils Stanley Cup champion and Conn Smythe winner Claude Lemieux. Don’t expect Brendan to feel sentimental when he plays against dad’s old team, however.
Keys to Victory
Devils Power Play: After being among the worst in the NHL, the Devils power play has begun showing signs of life recently. By no means could you say the Devils are a threat on the man advantage, but the New York Rangers are even worse on the penalty kill than the Devils are on the power play. The Rangers power play is only slightly better than the Devils, so it’s nothing their penalty kill can’t take care of.
Henrik Lundqvist: Devils fans hate him, but there’s no question the Rangers’ franchise goaltender has had a successful, albeit cup-less career. Lundqvist is going for career win 450 tonight, and Devils fans would love to play spoiler, while Rangers fans would love the milestone to come on rival ice. With the playoffs out of question, the Rangers main goal for the evening is to get a win for Lundqvist. Get to him early and make sure the
Hold Off The Tank: In the midst of a lost season, Devils fans love talking about the tank. If the tank pays off, the drama and turmoil of this season will be all worth it. If there ever was a game not to tank for, it would be their last home matchup against their main rivals. If nothing else for fan and franchise pride, get the win tonight. Let the final home game be a high night and resume tanking as soon as the plane hits wheels up for Carolina.
New Jersey Devils (per the New Jersey Devils twitter)
New York Rangers:
Final Score Prediction: Yes, the Devils want a high draft pick, but also don’t want to lose against the Rangers. For their last game in front of a home crowd until next year, Devils win 3-2.