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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, October 13th (All times eastern)

New Jersey Devils (2-0-0) at New York Rangers (4-0-0), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The New York Rangers will try to win their first five games to start a season for the first time since 1983, as they host the rival New Jersey Devils tonight at Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers will take the ice tonight with heavy hearts a few hours after learning of the death of 19-year-old prospect Alexei Cherepanov. The 17th- overall pick by New York in the 2007 draft was playing as a forward for Avangard Omsk of the Kontinental Hockey League when the tragedy occurred Monday in Moscow. He collapsed on the bench in the third period and attempts to revive Cherepanov were unsuccessful.

New York kicks off its season series with the Devils after dominating the club a year ago. The Rangers went 7-0-1 versus New Jersey in 2007-08, winning all four games as the host.

The Blueshirts have won eight of their last 13 versus the Devils and seven of the last nine as the host in the series.

The Rangers, who won a franchise-record five straight games to begin the 1983-84 season, are off to an excellent start, sweeping a two-game set versus Tampa Bay in Prague before posting wins over Chicago and Philadelphia.

Netminder Henrik Lundqvist was in net for the first three wins, but gave way to Stephen Valiquette in Saturday's 4-3 victory over the Flyers. Valiquette made 25 saves in the triumph.

Nikolai Zherdev, Michal Rozsival, Blair Betts and Fredrik Sjostrom all scored in the first period, as the Rangers came out of the gate firing before holding on for the one-goal victory. Zherdev and Betts also added an assist, while Dan Girardi had two helpers.

Lundqvist and his 1.33 goals against average this year should return to net tonight. The 26-year-old went 7-0-1 in eight starts versus the Devils last year, allowing just nine goals. Lifetime, he is 12-2-4 with a 1.46 GAA in 18 starts versus the Devils.

New Jersey netminder Martin Brodeur has had his own success against the Rangers. He went 1-4-3 against them last year despite a 1.96 GAA, and is 39-19-4 with 15 ties and a 2.06 GAA in 77 career starts versus the Rangers.

Brodeur picked up win No. 540 of his career on Saturday, stopping 14 shots in a 2-1 overtime win over Pittsburgh. He now trails Hall-of-Fame netminder Patrick Roy by 11 victories for first place on the all-time list.

Zach Parise's goal with 38 seconds remaining in overtime clinched the win for the Devils. With time ticking away in the extra session, Travis Zajac sent a long lead pass from his own zone to Parise on the left wing. He took the puck one stride over the blue line and let a wrister go from the left circle that found the back of the net.

Patrik Elias was credited with the other goal for the Devils, who have won their first two regular-season contests and play the second of four straight road games tonight. The club went 21-15-5 as the visitor last season.

10/13 16:39:09 ET


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