NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, March 10th
(All times eastern)
New York Rangers (29-28-9) at New Jersey Devils (38-23-3), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Three straight road games out west following the Olympic
break seemed to have caught up with the Devils in their most recent contest.
New Jersey now returns home for the first time in nearly a month this evening
when it plays host to a New York Rangers club that is struggling on offense
itself as of late.
The Devils return to the Prudential Center to play their first home game since
February 12 because of the Winter Olympics. They lost in Carolina in their
last game before the break, then went 1-2-0 on the swing's final three games.
The trip was capped on Sunday with a 2-0 loss to Edmonton.
Martin Brodeur made 33 saves, but New Jersey's offense failed to get any of
its 22 shots past the Oilers' Jeff Deslauriers.
"When you give up 35, 40 shots to a team and you get 20, you should be better
than that," Devils head coach Jacques Lemaire said.
Ilya Kovalchuk, who has three goals and five assists in nine games with the
Devils since being acquired in a trade with Atlanta, led the team with five
shots as New Jersey was shut out for the first time since February 2.
A return home could help. The Devils play two straight and four of their next
five at home, where they are 20-9-1 this season. New Jersey also needs to
rebound quickly as it has fallen five points back of first-place Pittsburgh in
the Atlantic Division.
New York, meanwhile, seemed to have put its season-long scoring troubles
behind them after posting a total of eight goals in its first two games after
the break. However, the Rangers were blanked, 2-0, by Washington on Saturday
before suffering a 2-0 overtime setback to Buffalo the following day.
The Rangers are three points back of the final playoff spot in the Eastern
Conference after Sunday's loss. Brandon Dubinsky scored with 1:23 left to play
in overtime, his third goal in four games, snapping New York's goal drought at
149 minutes and 30 seconds. That goal also forced overtime, but Henrik
Lundqvist, who made 35 saves, allowed the game-winner 2:22 into overtime.
"We needed the two points, we got one," said Rangers head coach John
Tortorella, whose club is 0-1-2 following a three-game win streak. "We have to
keep on fighting. That is all we can do. There are a lot of questions about
The Rangers and Devils have split four meetings this year, though they haven't
met in the Garden State since a 3-2 New York win on October 5. The Devils then
took the next two in the series on the road before the Rangers rebounded with
a 3-1 home win on February 6.
Marian Gaborik scored his team-leading 35th goal in that game, but has zero
points in his last three games since that meeting. He has also missed a total
of four games since then due to injury.
Lundqvist made 41 saves for the Rangers, while Brodeur had 22.
03/10 10:42:56 ET