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Wednesday, February 11th (All times eastern)

New York Rangers (20-24-7-4) New Jersey Devils (28-15-10-1), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The New Jersey Devils try to halt a two-game losing streak tonight when they welcome the rival New York Rangers to the Meadowlands.

The Devs came out of the All-Star break with a 4-1 loss to Philadelphia on Tuesday night. As a result, Jersey now trails the Flyers by seven points in the Atlantic Division race, although the Devils have three games in hand.

In the Tuesday's match, rookie goaltender Antero Niittymaki turned aside 35- of-36 shots for Philadelphia, which has gained a head of steam with a 7-1-1 mark in the last nine games.

Scott Niedermayer scored for New Jersey, which has lost three of its last five games (2-3). Martin Brodeur made 23 saves in a losing effort, and has allowed four goals in three of his last five starts.

The Devils are currently the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference with 67 points -- two behind Ottawa and three ahead of Montreal.

New Jersey, which has won three of its last four home tilts, begin a four-game Meadowlands set tonight and will host Carolina on Saturday.

The Rangers, meanwhile, are as close to desperation mode as a team could be. With 51 points, they are 11th in the East -- nine out of a playoff spot. They would also have to hurdle Buffalo and Florida, and Atlanta is just a point behind.

New York is 2-8-2 in its last 12 tries, including last Wednesday's 4-3 loss to visiting Minnesota to lead into the break. The Wild's Sergei Zholtok scored twice and Marian Gaborik netted the eventual game-winner with less than seven minutes remaining to lead the winners. The loss spoiled Mike Richter night at MSG.

Jaromir Jagr scored twice and recorded an assist for the Rangers, while Petr Nedved added a goal. The Rangers lost for the fourth time in five games (1-4-0).

As the Rangers make their desperate push for a playoff spot, they'll likely look to 43-year-old captain Mark Messier for guidance. Messier is coming off a terrific All-Star Game, as he tallied a goal and an assist in a 6-4 East win. Messier has 14 goals and 12 assists in 54 games this season.

New York, 0-3-1 in its last four away games, will host Philadelphia on Thursday to open a home-and-home.

The Devils are 1-0-1 against the Rangers this season, and 6-0-5 in the last 11 meetings overall. The Blueshirts are 0-4-2 in their last six trips across the Hudson River.

02/11 10:39:45 ET


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