NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, January 31st
(All times Eastern)
New York Rangers (31-12-4) at New Jersey Devils (26-19-3), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Fresh off an MVP performance in the All-Star Game,
Marian Gaborik will lead the New York Rangers in their first game after the
break as they visit the rival New Jersey Devils tonight at Prudential Center.
Gaborik notched the 16th hat trick in All-Star Game history Sunday in Ottawa,
as he posted three goals and an assist to help lead Team Chara to a 12-9
triumph over Team Alfredsson at Scotiabank Place. Gaborik, who is leading New
York with 25 goals, is the fifth Ranger to win All-Star Game MVP honors and
the first since Wayne Gretzky in 1999.
Two of Gaborik's goals came in the first period against Rangers netminder
Henrik Lundqvist, but the sniper was quick to heap praise on his goaltender
after the game.
"I was just fortunate to be lucky against him," Gaborik said. "I think he's
one of the best, if not the best, goalie in the league, but I am glad I could
get a couple of goals against him."
The Rangers head into tonight leading the Eastern Conference with 66 points --
two more than Boston -- and they're just one point behind Detroit for the most
in the NHL. New York is also three points ahead of Philadelphia for the
Atlantic Division lead.
New York won its last two games before the break and has taken four of its
last seven overall. The Rangers entered the All-Star break with last Tuesday's
3-0 home win against Winnipeg, as Lundqvist stopped 22 shots to record his
fifth shutout of the season.
Tonight marks the first of two straight on the road for the Blueshirts, who
are 16-7-2 as the guest this season.
The Devils are currently locked in a three-way tie with Florida and Toronto
for the seventh seed in the East. New Jersey did not enter the break on a high
note, however, as the Devils lost their last three games to fall to 1-2-1 on a
New Jersey was at least able to earn a point in its most recent contest, as it
dropped last Tuesday's decision against Buffalo in a shootout.
The Devils, who will close their homestand against Montreal on Tuesday, are
12-9-2 as the host this year.
Tonight's tilt marks just the second of six scheduled meetings between the
Devils and Rangers this year. New York posted a 4-1 victory at the Prudential
Center on Dec. 20 and has won two straight and six of the last eight
encounters in this series.
The Rangers have also claimed four of the last five matchups in Newark.
01/31 10:32:43 ET