New York Rangers vs. New Jersey Devils, 7:00 PM at The Prudential Center
Where To Watch: MSG 2
Where To Listen: 970-AM The Apple
Live In-Game Chat: 6:45 PM on BlueshirtsUnited.com
After a six-day break since their last game the Rangers (31-12-4, 66 pts) resume their season tonight in New Jersey where they face the Devils (26-19-3, 55 pts) in a contest featuring a pair of intense Atlantic Division rivals. If the regular season ended at the All Star break, the Eastern Conference-leading Rangers would be facing the eighth-place Devils in the opening round of the playoffs. But instead both teams have more than 30 games remaining on their respective schedules and tonight's match will be about improving and solidifying each team's current standing. The Rangers entered the break having won two in a row---a dramatic 3-2 overtime win in Boston and a 3-0 home-ice shutout over the Winnipeg Jets---though the Blueshirts were just 4-3-0 in the seven games leading up to the break. In the three losses in those seven games the Rangers surrendered at least three goals in each contest, but in the four victories they posted three shutouts and allowed just two goals in total. The Devils, who may get defenseman Andy Greene back in the lineup Tuesday after a 22-game injury-related absence, dropped three straight (one in overtime) heading into the break and have the same 55 points that seventh-place Florida and ninth-place Toronto have. Being in such a position makes the Devils a dangerous opponent since they are playing for their playoff lives each and every night. Devils coach Peter DeBoer announced on Monday that Martin Brodeur would start in goal against the Rangers on Tuesday, but that high-scoring rookie Adam Henrique would miss the game due to a groin injury.
Surprisingly the Rangers and Devils have faced each other only once so far this season---a 4-1 Blueshirts win at the Prudential Center back on December 20th---but will now see one another five times in the next six weeks. In that contest in December Marian Gaborik scored twice for the Rangers while also adding an assist, and Henrik Lundqvist turned in a sterling 30-save performance in goal.
"These are important points. As you've gone through the first half (of the season) and now head into the third quarter of it, you need to find ways to get points, and that is our whole mindset. We know there will be certain types of sloppines (Tuesday, due to the break), but as soon as we get into the right kind of mindset as far as taking care of details the quicker we will get back to our game."-John Tortorella
By The Numbers
Marian Gaborik became the fifth Rangers player to be selected as the Most Valuable Player of an NHL All Star Game following his three-goal, four-point performance Sunday in Ottawa. He joins Don Maloney (1978), Mike Gartner (1993), Mike Richter (1994), and Wayne Gretzky (1999) in snagging All Star MVP honors.
The Rangers have not allowed a power play goal in their last six games, killing off 14 straight man disadvantages in that span. And dating back to December 26th, the Rangers have surrendered only one power play goal in their last 32 times shorthanded, a span covering 14 games.
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