NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, March 19th (All times eastern)
New York Rangers (38-26-9) at New Jersey Devils (42-24-6), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New Jersey Devils will try to grab a lead in the race for the Eastern Conference's top spot tonight, as they welcome the rival New York Rangers for an Atlantic Division battle at the Prudential Center.
The Devils come into tonight's test with 90 points -- the same amount as the Northeast Division-leading Montreal Canadiens. New Jersey currently holds the tiebreaker and the No. 1 seed because it comes into tonight's game with two games in hand over the Canadiens, who are idle tonight.
New Jersey also holds a one-point edge over Pittsburgh for the Atlantic lead. The Penguins are also idle tonight after losing a road test to the Rangers on Tuesday.
The Rangers have 85 points and are sixth in the Eastern Conference -- two points behind Ottawa and two in front of Boston.
New York has dominated the season series with the Devils this year, winning all five of the meetings thus far. Overall, the Rangers have taken eight of the last 13 against Jersey and are 2-0 in their first two trips to the Devils' new arena in Newark. The Blueshirts have still lost five of eight on the road against New Jersey.
Jersey won for the fifth time in six outings Saturday, as the Devils posted a road win over Colorado. Jamie Langenbrunner and John Madden scored key third-period goals to lead the Devils to the 4-2 win over the Avs at the Pepsi Center.
Jay Pandolfo and Dainius Zubrus also scored for New Jersey, which won back-to- back games to end a four-game road trip. The Devils went 3-1 on the swing with the lone loss coming in Montreal on March 11.
Martin Brodeur made 24 saves for the Devils on Saturday to improve his record to 40-22-5 this season. Brodeur has reached the 40-win plateau in each of the last three season and extended his own NHL record with his seventh overall campaign with 40 or more victories.
Brodeur will make the 75th appearance of his career against the Rangers tonight. He is 38-18-3 with 15 ties against New York and has posted a 2.06 goals against average and .920 save percentage in those games.
Tonight's test marks the first of two straight at home against New York teams, as the Devils will welcome the Islanders to Newark on Friday. New Jersey is 22-12-1 at the Prudential Center and has won four of five and six of its last eight on home ice.
The Rangers, meanwhile, notched an easy win over the Penguins on Tuesday, as Sean Avery posted a pair of goals and Henrik Lundqvist turned in a strong performance between the pipes to lead the Blueshirts to a 5-2 decision at Madison Square Garden.
Martin Straka had a goal and an assist, while Ryan Callahan and Fredrik Sjostrom also tallied for New York, which snapped a two-game skid and is 11-2-3 in its last 16 overall.
Lundqvist finished with 22 saves on the night, earning his 100th career victory. He is the fastest netminder in club history to 100 wins, needing just 187 games to accomplish the feat. Mike Richter held the old mark, compiling 100 wins in 198 contests.
The Rangers are playing the first of two straight on the road tonight and will also stop in Philadelphia this Friday for the opener of a home-and-home series with the rival Flyers. New York is 15-13-8 as the visitors this year and has dropped its last two on the road.
03/19 10:47:51 ET