NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, December 20th
(All times Eastern)
New York Rangers (18-8-4) at New Jersey Devils (18-13-1), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The surging New Jersey Devils will aim for a fifth straight
victory when they host the rival New York Rangers in tonight's Atlantic
Division clash at the Prudential Center.
The Devils have won four straight and six of their last seven games. Tonight,
they can record their first five-game winning streak since rattling off eight
consecutive wins from Feb. 6-22 of last season.
This evening's tilt marks the first of six meetings between the Rangers and
Devils this year. New York has taken five of the last seven encounters in this
series overall. The Devils had lost three straight on home ice to New York,
but ended that streak with a 1-0 win over the Rangers last season on Feb. 18.
New York is tied with Pittsburgh for second place in the Atlantic Division and
is three points ahead of the Devils.
New Jersey has been clicking on offense lately, scoring five or more goals in
three of its last four games. The Devils recorded a 5-3 win in Montreal on
Saturday, and Patrik Elias scored twice to make him the franchise leader in
Elias' second goal of the game was the 348th of his career, moving him past
John MacLean for the top spot in Devils history. The 35-year-old winger is
leading New Jersey this season in both goals (13) and points (29).
"It just feels nice that you're doing something right and it obviously helps
me keep going. But, at this moment, I'm enjoying myself," said Elias.
Elias has been dealing with an illness and will not play in this evening's
game. Defenseman Henrik Tallinder will also sit out a third straight game with
Petr Sykora and Dainius Zubrus each had a goal and an assist on Saturday,
while David Clarkson also scored for the Devils. Martin Brodeur turned aside
23 shots to get to 8-8-0 on the season.
The Devils are playing the first of two straight on home ice tonight and are
7-5-1 in Newark this season. They will host the Washington Capitals on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Rangers and completing a three-game road trip tonight and are
10-5-2 as the guest this year after splitting the first two tilts of the
New York was handed a 4-1 loss in St. Louis on Thursday, but rebounded with
Saturday's dramatic victory in Phoenix. Brad Richards scored a goal with just
one-tenth of a second showing on the clock to give the New York Rangers a 3-2
win over the Coyotes.
With the puck along the deep boards to the left of the net, Ryan Callahan sent
a pass out to the left circle where Richards fired a backhand turnaround shot
that banged in off the right post and went in as the buzzer sounded. The
official near the net waived the goal off, but the replay showed it crossed
the line just before time expired to give the Rangers the win.
"I came on the ice with 20 seconds so I knew we didn't have much time," said
Richards. "Ryan (Callahan) made a good play there to get it to me and I just
wanted to throw it on net somewhere. I had no idea that was going to happen."
Marian Gaborik scored twice and Martin Biron turned aside 21 shots for the
Rangers defenseman Steve Eminger suffered a shoulder injury in Saturday's game
and will miss 8-10 weeks of action. Fellow blueliner Jeff Woywitka hurt his
foot in Phoenix and is questionable for tonight.
12/20 13:31:05 ET