NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, February 18th
(All times eastern)
New York Rangers (31-24-4) at New Jersey Devils (23-30-4), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New Jersey Devils have been one of the hottest teams in
the NHL for over a month and they will aim for a sixth straight victory when
they host the rival New York Rangers tonight at Prudential Center.
The Devils set a season-high with a fifth straight win on Wednesday, as they
edged the visiting Carolina Hurricanes in regulation. New Jersey has gained a
point in 14 of its last 15 games and has a spectacular 13-1-2 record during
Jacques Lemaire's club is also moving closer to a potential playoff spot,
something that seemed like an impossibility just several weeks ago. But, with
50 points, the Devils are just 12 points behind Carolina for the eighth and
final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.
Brian Rolston and Patrik Elias scored 85 seconds apart early in the third
period to lift the red-hot Devils to the recent 3-2 victory over the
Johan Hedberg made 25 saves to earn the win. Hedberg has started the last four
games in net for New Jersey, while No. 1 netminder Martin Brodeur has dealt
with a sprained right knee.
"It was another solid game for the whole team," Hedberg said. "We got to keep
Brodeur practiced with the team on Thursday for the first time since injuring
his knee on Feb. 6 in Montreal. Mike McKenna was the backup to Hedberg on
Wednesday and will likely serve in that role until Brodeur is ready too
The 37-year-old Brodeur is considered day-to-day and could be back in goal as
early as tomorrow's game in Carolina.
The Devils will get defenseman Anton Volchenkov back tonight now that he has
served a three-game suspension for elbowing Carolina's Zach Boychuk in the
head on Feb. 8.
New Jersey has won three straight on home ice and is 13-13-3 as the host this
season. The Devils are completing a three-game homestand tonight and will
begin a four-game road trip with Sunday's contest in Columbus.
The Rangers, who are currently running seventh in the East playoff race with
66 points, picked up a shootout victory Thursday night against visiting Los
Angeles. Mats Zuccarello netted the deciding goal to lift the Blueshirts to
the 4-3 decision at Madison Square Garden.
Zuccarello began the second round with a wrister past Jonathan Bernier to give
New York its second score in as many tries. Jarret Stoll then tallied to keep
the Kings alive, and though Bernier poke-checked away Wojtek Wolski's chance
to start the third round, Henrik Lundqvist knocked down Anze Kopitar's shot to
end the game.
Marian Gaborik, Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan tallied in regulation for
the Rangers, who have won two in a row after losing six straight.
Lundqvist earned his 200th career victory by stopping 25 shots.
"It's a great feeling to reach that. It's a milestone for me. I'm happy I've
been able to be here for almost six years now. I just hope I get the
opportunity to stay here and get another 200," Lundqvist said of his
New York has a solid 17-12-1 record as the guest this season, but the club has
dropped its last three road tilts. The Rangers' last road victory was on Jan.
24 in Washington.
The Rangers had won the first three games of the season series against New
Jersey, but the Devils recorded a 3-2 regulation victory when the clubs met in
New York on Feb. 3. That win ended a four-game losing streak in the series for
the Devils, who have lost three in a row and four of their last five home
tilts against the Blueshirts.
02/18 10:33:35 ET