NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, February 27th
(All times Eastern)
New Jersey Devils (35-22-4) at New York Rangers (39-15-6), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New York Rangers will continue their push for the
Atlantic Division crown when they host the rival New Jersey Devils tonight at
Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers haven't won the Atlantic since their last Stanley Cup championship
season in 1993-94, when New York also led the league in points. With 22 games
left in their regular-season slate, the Blueshirts hold a seven-point lead
over Pittsburgh for first place.
New York is also seven points ahead of Boston for the Eastern Conference lead
and trails Vancouver by three points for the best record in the NHL.
Meanwhile, the Devils are currently tied with Ottawa for the sixth seed in the
East and they're six points in front of eighth-seeded Winnipeg.
The Rangers have lost two of their three games against the Devils this season
and New Jersey has taken four of six overall in the series. New York has also
lost two of its last three home tilts versus the Devils. The Rangers are
11-4-2 against Atlantic Division opponents this season.
The Rangers halted a two-game slide and won for the second time in five games
when they beat visiting Buffalo in overtime on Saturday. Ryan Callahan's 100th
career goal came with 2:01 left in OT to lift New York to the 3-2 decision
over the Sabres.
In the extra session, Ryan McDonagh received a pass from Callahan and skated
the puck into the Buffalo zone up the middle. He passed it over to the top of
the right circle where a skating Callahan kicked it to his stick, slid the
puck under the stick of a defender then snapped a forehand past Ryan Miller.
"I thought we played good throughout the game," said Callahan. "Momentum
shifted back and forth there, but I thought we stayed even-keeled and kept our
Carl Hagelin had a goal and an assist, while Marian Gaborik also scored for
the Rangers, who are 10-3-2 over their last 15 games. Henrik Lundqvist stopped
18 shots and improved to 29-12-4 on the season.
New York is 20-7-2 as the host this year, while the Devils are 19-10-1 as the
New Jersey went 0-2 on a two-game homestand this weekend, losing to Vancouver
on Friday and dropping Sunday's 4-3 decision to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Martin St. Louis posted a hat trick to lead the Bolts to yesterday's win at
the Prudential Center.
Alexei Ponikarovsky, Petr Sykora and Zach Parise scored in the loss for the
Devils, who had won four in a row before this two-game slide. Martin Brodeur
allowed four goals on 16 shots for New Jersey.
"The way the standings are, the way we need to play, it's hard but you should
be able to, regardless of who you're playing against, bring that intensity,"
Parise said. "Whether a team is first in the conference or you're playing (the
Lightning), it's going to be a hard game. That's how equal everything is. We
have to do a better job."
Tonight's test kicks off a four-game road trip for the Devils, who will also
face the Bruins, Capitals and Islanders before returning home to face the
Rangers again on March 6.
02/27 10:33:24 ET