NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, January 12th
(All times eastern)
New Jersey Devils (31-11-1) at New York Rangers (22-17-6), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - A pair of Atlantic Division rivals will meet for the first
time in over two months when the New York Rangers host the New Jersey Devils
tonight at Madison Square Garden.
The Devils and Rangers split a pair of meetings back in October, with Jersey
taking a 4-2 decision at MSG the last time the clubs played on October 22. New
Jersey has won four of six overall in the series, but the Devils have just two
wins in their last eight trips to the Big Apple.
New Jersey, which leads both the Atlantic and the Eastern Conference with 63
points, had an interesting weekend to say the least. The Devils wound up
playing hockey on three straight days after Friday's home test against Tampa
Bay was suspended due to a power outage and resumed on Sunday.
After Friday's contest was suspended with the Lightning holding a 3-0 lead
with 9:12 remaining in the second period, both Tampa Bay and New Jersey
continued their regular schedules on Saturday. For the Devils, that meant
heading to Montreal, where it was able to record a 2-1 overtime victory over
the Canadiens thanks to Zach Parise's goal at 2:38 of the extra session.
The Devils won their third straight game with the win over the Habs, but New
Jersey would eventually lose to the Lightning when the game was resumed Sunday
at Prudential Center. Tampa Bay held on for the 4-2 victory and Steven Stamkos
wound up with two goals, as he scored in both Friday and Sunday's sessions.
The original stoppage on Friday became necessary after a large bank of lights
behind the net defended by New Jersey's Martin Brodeur suddenly darkened while
the teams were about to face off in the Devils' zone. A more than two-hour
delay ensued before failed attempts at fixing the malfunction gave way to
commissioner Gary Bettman's decision to suspend play.
Travis Zajac and Parise scored for New Jersey, which had won five of six prior
to Sunday's prolonged defeat.
"It wasn't really three games in three days," Parise said. "You think about
it, we only played half the game the other night. If you want to break it down
each guy played only six or seven minutes. I thought we had plenty of energy.
We did a decent job trying to get ourselves back into it."
Brodeur did not continue in net on Sunday but took the loss nonetheless after
giving up three goals on seven shots. Yann Danis let one in on seven shots in
Tonight marks the start of a four-game road trip for the Devils, who are
15-4-1 as the guest this season. Next up for New Jersey is Thursday's test in
Meanwhile, the Rangers have won three of their last four games and are coming
off Saturday's victory in Boston. Brandon Dubinsky registered a goal and
picked up two assists, as the Blueshirts defeated the Bruins, 3-1, at TD
Michael Del Zotto and Erik Christensen also scored for the Rangers, while
Henrik Lundqvist turned aside 29 of the 30 shots he faced.
"I think we've defended much better," said Rangers head coach John Tortorella.
"Our goaltending has been good at key times. I think we've done a really good
job around our net defensively and some guys are beginning to chip in some
goals along the way. I think we're playing much better as a hockey team."
The Rangers are 8-1-3 in their last 12 contests and are currently fifth in the
East with 50 points.
New York is playing the first of two straight on home ice tonight and will
host Ottawa on Thursday. The Blueshirts are just 10-10-3 at the Garden this
01/12 10:44:03 ET