The Blueshirts hold a 3-0-0 record against the Devils and beat New Jersey 4-3 in overtime when Mika Zibanejad scored at 1:16 of the extra session in the only game played this season in downtown Newark. It looks as though the Devils are headed for an early Spring, sitting 17 points out of the final playoff position.
The Rangers will use their last 10 games to get 100% healthy and prepare for postseason play. Barring any last minute issues, the Rangers will go with the lineup that beat Minnesota 3-2 in their last game. It was once again a solid road win, their league-leading 26th of the season. Youth was well-represented in the victory as Brady Skjei, Jimmy Vesey, and Oscar Lindberg were the goal-scorers. Lindberg is becoming increasingly more important in his role after getting a late start due to off-season hip surgery.
The Devils are coming off an odd night, when they gave up two penalty shot goals, a short-handed goal, and an empty-netter, in a 4-1 loss to Columbus. New Jersey has just one regulation win in its last 13 games, but rest assure the compete level will be extremely high with the Rangers in town.
3 KEYS TO RANGERS-DEVILS
1. Establish A Lead
A lot of the Devils troubles stems from the issues they have when it comes to scoring. While playing five-on-five, New Jersey has scored 101 goals, 29th in the league. Forcing the Devils to play from behind plays into the Rangers relative strength when it comes to scoring.
2. Pucks To The Net
While this is not an instinctive trait with this Rangers team, it is something that plays a larger role come playoff time. When the ice gets smaller, as the competition gets better, shooting first and asking questions later plays a key role.
New Jersey’s top line of Taylor Hall, Travis Zajac and Kyle Palmieri were the best players on the ice when the teams last met. The speed, smarts and grit of this threesome will have to be met with speed, smarts, and grit.
Rangers-Devils tonight on MSG Network (TV) and ESPN 98.7 FM (Radio). Pregame at 6:30 PM, puck drop at a little after 7 PM.
Check it out!