New York Rangers vs. New Jersey Devils, 7:00 PM at Madison Square Garden
Where To Watch: MSG Network
Where To Listen: 1050 ESPN Radio
Live In-Game Chat: 6:45 PM on BlueshirtsUnited.com
Tonight at Madison Square Garden the Rangers (33-12-5, 71 pts) face one of the hottest teams in the National Hockey League---one that is playing its best hockey of the season to date---in the New Jersey Devils (30-19-3, 63 pts). While the Rangers remain atop the Eastern Conference---three points ahead of second-place Boston---following Sunday's 5-2 home-ice win over the Flyers, the Devils have moved up into sixth place in the East, just one point behind fifth-place Pittsburgh. New Jersey has won four games in a row, with three of those victories coming against Atlantic Division foes---including a 4-3 shootout win over the Rangers at The Rock on January 31st. The Rangers will have to contend with the red-hot Ilya Kovalchuk tonight. The Devils star has notched three consecutive three-point games, and has ten points (3-7-10) during the Devils four-game winning streak. The Devils other sniper, Zach Parise, comes in riding a five-game point-scoring streak, notching five goals, two assists, and seven points in that span. Shutting down that pair, as well as the rest of the confident Devils will be a big task for Henrik Lundqvist and his Rangers teammates this evening. The Blueshirts, who are 4-0-1 in their past five games, have surrendered just four goals in their past four victories and might have their defense bolstered by the possible return of veteran Steve Eminger following a 20-game injury-related absence.
Tonight marks the third of six meetings this season between the Rangers and Devils and the first at The Garden. The two teams have split a pair of games at The Rock in New Jersey, with the Rangers winning 4-1 on December 20th and the Devils gaining revenge with a 4-3 shootout victory on January 31st. Marian Gaborik has recorded five points (2 goals, 3 assists) in two games vs. the Devils so far this season. Last season the Rangers won two of three games played against the Devils at Madison Square Garden.
"They have a lot of skill, a lot of firepower. It's going to be important that we stick to our game, not waver from it, because these guys can burn you. These games against the Devils are always a big challenge, and I don't expect this one to be any different."-Brian Boyle
By The Numbers
Henrik Lundqvist did not make the start against the Devils when the two teams last met eight days ago, but in 37 lifetime contests against New Jersey he has posted a 23-9-5 record, 1.82 goals against average, and five shutouts. Back on December 20th, Lundqvist stopped 30 of 31 shots in another typically strong performance against the Devils.
The Rangers penalty kill has held opponents scoreless in 14 of the past 17 games, with an incredible 93.5% success rate. The Blueshirts enter play ranked fourth in the NHL on the Penalty Kill with a success rate of 87.4% so far this season.
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