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Game Preview – Game 53: Your New Jersey Devils @ New York Rangers

New Jersey Devils vs New York Rangers

New Jersey Devils (30-19-3, 63 points) vs New York Rangers (33-12-5, 71 points)
7:00 PM EST
TV: MSG+ 2
Radio: WFAN 660 AM

Matchup:

Tonight will be the third of six matchups between the Atlantic Division rivals, and the first of three to be played at Madison Square Garden. So far this season, the Devils and Rangers each have collected a win. The last game between the two was last Tuesday which saw the Devils tie the game in the closing seconds and take the win in a shootout.

Devils Looking For First Five-Game Winning Streak This Season:

The Devils find themselves 4-0-0 since the All-Star break and have tied their highest winning streak this season at four games. Three of the four wins have come across Atlantic Division rivals who are above the Devils in the standings. The Devils have been on an offensive surge since the All-Star break outscoring their opponents 20-12. Ilya Kovalchuk, who was named this past week’s number two star throughout the NHL, has four goals and seven assists in the first four matchups of the unofficial second-half of the season.

Looking at upcoming games, the Devils really need to pull out wins if they wish to continue climbing the standings. Future games consist of: at Rangers, vs Blues, vs Panthers, vs Sabres, and vs Ducks. The toughest of the next few games will be the Rangers and the Blues, two of the top six teams in the entire league. Despite St. Louis not being in the same conference as the Devils, a win against them on Thursday will be great momentum to carry the Devils through the rest of the season.

In order to secure a “W” tonight, the Devils defense needs to pick up. The main problem lately for the D is not being able to clear rebounds from in front of the net. This has been a concern in the games against the Rangers last Tuesday, Montreal and Philadelphia. Three of the four Flyers goals came from not being able to clear a rebound from in front. The defense appeared better in Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh, but the Devils have to make sure that they don’t get too comfortable on this winning streak.

Projected Devils Lineup:

Parise (C) – Elias (A) – Kovalchuk (A)
Sykora – Zubrus- Clarkson

Ponikarovsky- Henrique- Bernier
Boulton – Josefson- Janssen

Greene- Fayne
Salvador- Volchenkov
Taormina – Foster

Brodeur
Hedberg

——————–

The Latest on the New York Rangers:

The Rangers are also coming off a big win against Philadelphia this past weekend. Sunday saw the Blue Shirts take a 5-2 win over their Winter Classic opponents. Star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist stopped 21 shots for his fourth straight win as the Rangers continue to show that they are a force to be reckoned with atop the standings.

The bright side for the Devils going into tonight’s game is the Rangers’ powerplay has only converted twice in its last 44 chances, and haven’t scored on a 5-on-4 situation in over a month.

Defenseman Steve Eminger (shoulder) could be medically cleared to play tonight. If he does, expect rookie Stu Bickel to lose his roster spot.

Projected Rangers Lineup:

Hagelin – Stepan – Gaborik
Dubinsky – Richards (A) – Callahan (C)
Fedotenko – Boyle –  Prust
Rupp – Anisimov – Mitchell

McDonagh – Girardi
Del Zotto – Stralman
Staal (A) – Bickel

Lundqvist
Biron

———-

There will be a viewing party tonight at Texas-Arizona in Hoboken, NJ hosted by the Devils Army Generals. There will be trivia, giveaways, food & drink specials and more! Click here to visit the Facebook Event!

Follow the Devils Army Generals on Facebook and on Twitter for more in-depth coverage of Jersey’s Team.

Game Preview – Game 33: New York Rangers @ Your New Jersey Devils!

New Jersey Devils vs New York Rangers

New York Rangers (18-8-4, 40 points)  vs New Jersey Devils (18-13-1, 37 points)
7:00 PM EST
TV: MSG+
Radio: WFAN 660 AM

Matchup:

Surprisingly, this will be the first of six meetings between the Atlantic Division rivals this season. This comes just eight games before the halfway point of the season for the Devils. Last season, the Rangers took the season series 4-2.

Patrik Elias to Miss Tonight’s Game:

Just three days after breaking the franchise’s career goals record, Patrik Elias is expected to miss the Devils’ first game against the Rangers tonight. Elias, who missed practice yesterday due to feeling ill, says he’s still not feeling well enough to play a full 60 minute game.

Without their leading scorer, this season and all-time, the Devils will move Travis Zajac up to the second line between Petr Sykora and Dainius Zubrus. Zajac has only averaged just above 15 minutes of ice time per game, since returning from a torn achilles, but will have to play just a little bit more tonight.

With Elias’ absence, Adam Henrique has been bumped up to the first powerplay unit with Parise, Clarkson, Kovalchuk and Foster.

This also means that Ryan Carter will center the third line, and Tim Sestito, who has been scratched the past two games, will center the fourth line.

Against the Rangers:

The Devils are 78-70-27-1 all-time versus the Rangers, and are 50-31-7-0 when playing in New Jersey.

Patrik Elias is the leading scorer for the Devils against the Rangers with 61 points (18 goals, 43 assists) in 69 games played.

With Elias’ absence tonight, the active Devil with the most points against the Rangers is Ilya Kovalchuk with 36 points (19 goals, 17 assists) in 38 games played.

David Clarkson leads active Devils in average penalty minutes per game against the Rangers. Currently he has 53 PIM in only 23 games against the Blue Shirts.

Starting goaltender, Martin Brodeur, is 43-26-20 in his career against the Rangers with a 2.13 GAA.

Projected Devils Lineup:

Parise (C) – Henrique – Kovalchuk (A)
Sykora – Zajac – Zubrus

Tedenby – Carter – Clarkson
Boulton – Sestito – Janssen

Salvador – Larsson
Volchenkov – Foster
Taormina – Fayne

Brodeur
Hedberg

——————–

The Latest on the New York Rangers:

In the Rangers latest game, on Saturday, Brad Richards scored a goal with less than a second left in regulation to give the Rangers a 3-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes. In the game, Marian Gaborik scored the other two Rangers goals to give him a team lead of 17 on the season (which is 6th in the NHL). Those two goals also marked career goals 299 and 300 for Gaborik.

However the injury plague keeps striking the Rangers. In what might make good TV for HBO’s 24/7, the Rangers are now playing without three of their top six defensemen. Steve Eminger suffered a shoulder injury during the game on Saturday, and he will now join Mike Sauer (concussion) and Mark Staal (concussion) on the injured list. If it couldn’t get any worse, Jeff Woywitka may not be able to play in tonight’s game against the Devils due to a sore foot.

Rookies Stu bickel and Tim Erixon have been recalled from the Connecticut Whale to fill in.

Projected Rangers Lineup: 

Anisimov – Stepan – Gaborik
Dubinsky – Richards (A) – Callahan (C)
Hagelin – Boyle – Mitchell
Rupp – Fedotenko – Prust

McDonagh – Girardi (A)
Del Zotto – Stralman
Erixon – Bickel

Lundqvist
Biron

Follow the Devils Army Generals on Facebook and on Twitter for more in-depth coverage of Jersey’s Team.

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