NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, March 27th (All times eastern)
New Jersey Devils (42-27-7) at New York Rangers (39-26-11), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New Jersey Devils will try to halt a four-game losing streak tonight, when they visit the New York Rangers for an Atlantic Division matchup at Madison Square Garden.
New Jersey has struggled mightily against the Rangers this season as it has lost all six meetings between the clubs and scored a total of five goals in the setbacks. The Devils have also dropped three straight, six of eight and eight of their last 11 in Manhattan.
The Devils' skid has damaged their chances at winning the Atlantic, as the club's last two setbacks have come against division-leading Pittsburgh. The Penguins are four points ahead of New Jersey with five games left for Pittsburgh and six remaining in the Devils' regular-season slate.
New Jersey comes into tonight's test with 91 points and is tied with Ottawa for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Devils are also just two points ahead of the Rangers, who are currently holding onto the sixth seed in the East.
The Devils can clinch a playoff berth tonight with a win and if Washington gets one or no points in its game against Tampa.
New York could also extend its lead over seventh-seeded Philadelphia tonight, as the idle Flyers are just one point behind the Rangers.
After losing 7-1 in Pittsburgh last Saturday, the Devils were dealt a 2-0 setback by the visiting Penguins on Tuesday. Ryan Malone notched a goal and an assist for Pittsburgh, and Marc-Andre Fleury posted his fourth shutout of the season with 31 saves.
The series was not officially a home-and-home set because the Penguins played the New York Islanders on Monday.
Martin Brodeur turned aside 18-of-19 shots for New Jersey, which has been outscored 14-3 in going 0-3-1 in its last four games. It's the second time the Devils have lost four straight games this season -- including an 0-3-1 stretch from October 18-27.
New Jersey hasn't lost five in a row since dropping six straight from November 2-14, 2000.
The Devils are 20-13-5 as the visiting club this year and have won four of their last six on the road.
The Rangers have lost two straight and both losses came against Philadelphia. The Flyers notched both wins after regulation, posting a 4-3 shootout victory in Philadelphia last Friday and downing the Blueshirts, 2-1, in Tuesday's overtime win at Madison Square Garden.
Mike Richards scored 2:16 into overtime to lift the Flyers to Tuesday's win in Manhattan. In the extra session, Jason Smith picked off an errant pass in the Philadelphia end and sprung Richards on a breakaway. Richards skated into the New York end, and with Marek Malik all over him, he slid a backhander between the pads of Henrik Lundqvist for the win.
Jaromir Jagr scored the lone goal while Lundqvist made 23 saves for the Rangers, who have dropped four of their last six games.
With the goal, Jagr now has 1,591 points, which moved him ahead of Phil Esposito for ninth place on the all-time list. Jagr's goal was also his 20th of the season, marking the 17th time in 17 NHL seasons that he has reached that plateau.
The Rangers played Tuesday's game without leading scorer Scott Gomez, who sat out with sprained ribs. Gomez, who has 67 points (16 goals, 51 assists) is questionable for tonight's test.
New York is 23-13-2 as the hosts this year.
03/27 15:42:04 ET