NHL Preview from The Sports Network |
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
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
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
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
02/11 10:39:45 ET