Rangers look to maintain winning ways against the Devils, Lundqvist looking for 30th win
Bobby BevilacquaFollowing a tense overtime victory over the Red Wings, the Rangers (34-19-6) kick off a three game road trip tonight as they head to Newark to take on the rival New Jersey Devils (29-24-7) for the third time in the past three weeks.
Kevin Klein scored the overtime winner on Sunday off of an excellent feed from Kevin Hayes, who probably should have had a goal of his own earlier in the game. Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 22 shots to pick up the win, which put the Rangers at 7-1-1 in their last nine games, as well as two in a row. Their lead over the Islanders is not up to five points, and they’re holding off some of the surging division foes.
The Devils looked like they’d be a playoff team early on, but their starting to slow down a bit, losing to the Capitals on Saturday for their third straight defeat. They sit three points behind the Penguins for the last Wild Card spot despite playing two more games than them. The Devils are also just 8-11-2 against the Metropolitan Division, with two of them coming against the Rangers.
This is the fourth and final matchup between these teams this season, wrapping up the series at the Prudential Center in Newark. The Rangers are 1-1-1 against New Jersey so far, with all three games being decided by a single goal. Henrik Lundqvist has allowed just six goals, but his counterpart Cory Schneider has given up just five goals on 97 shots against. In the last game, the Rangers held a 2-1 third period lead thanks to goals from JT Miller, but let that slip away in the final 20 minutes, with David Schlemko scoring the game winner on the power play.
Schneider is expected to get the start for the Devils, looking for consistent support from his teammates. His 25-19-6 record is deceiving, because Schneider has been one of the best goaltenders in the league, posting a 2.06 GAA, best in the NHL, and a .928 save percentage, tied for third in the NHL.
Lee Stempniak has been a thorn in the Rangers side this season. After joining the Devils on a PTO, he’s piecing together a very nice first season in the Garden State, scoring 15 goals and a team-high 40 points, his highest total since the 2006-07 season. Stemps has two goals and an assist in three games against New York, but he been held pointless in the last five games and without a goal in the last nine games.
Kyle Palmieri is also enjoying a successful first season in New Jersey, scoring a team high and a career high 22 goals this season, and adding 17 assists. He had two points against the Capitals on Saturday, and has four points (2-2-4) in the last five games.
Henrik Lundqvist was very strong on Sunday night, picking up his fourth shutout of the season along with win number 29. A win tonight would give him his seventh win in the last eight games, as well as being win number 30 on the season. Lundqvist is the only goalie in NHL history to post 30 wins in each of his first nine full seasons. Hank has a .923 save percentage and a 2.28 GAA.
Kevin Hayes picked up the primary assist on a beautiful pass to Klein in overtime, giving him 28 points (10-18-28) for the season. After a long stretch of games that looked like a sophomore slump, Hayes has shaken that off and has played excellently as of late. The Boston College product has six points (3-3-6) in the last six games, and he has built good chemistry with Oscar Lindberg and Viktor Stalberg on the third line. The Rangers need depth, and Hayes is coming through for them.
JT Miller leads the Rangers with three goals against the Devils in the three games this season, and he has been playing well lately. With Nash still out, Miller is the new top line winger alongside Derick Brassard (22-23-45) and Jesper Fast (8-13-21), and the trio has combined for seven points against New Jersey. Miller has four points, all assists, in the last three games.
As far as lineup updates, Ryan McDonagh remains out of the lineup with a jaw issue, but this doesn’t seem like a long-lasting issue. Marek Hrivik gets back in the lineup tonight on the fourth line in his second career game.
The Rangers and the Devils will face off at the Prudential Center at 7 PM. The game will be broadcasted on MSG Network.
JT Miller-Derick Brassard-Mats Zuccarello
Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Jesper Fast
Oscar Lindberg-Kevin Hayes-Viktor Stalberg
Tanner Glass-Dominic Moore-Marek Hrivik
Keith Yandle-Dan Girardi
Marc Staal-Kevin Klein
Dan Boyle-Dylan McIlrath
Posted on February 23, 2016, in Game Previews and tagged Adam Henrique, Cory Schneider, Derek Stepan, Derick Brassard, Henrik Lundqvist, Henrik Lundqvist shutout, Jesper Fast, JT Miller, Keith Yandle, Kevin Hayes, Kyle Palmieri, Lee Stempniak, Madison Square Garden, Mats Zuccarello, MSG, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, New York Rangers blog, NYR, Oscar Lindberg, Rangers, Rangers blog, Ryan McDonagh, Viktor Stalberg. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.