Rangers, Devils square off in Big Apple
Monday, 02.06.2012 / 2:44 PM
Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff WriterDEVILS (30-19-3) at RANGERS (33-12-5)
TV: MSG PLUS 2, MSG
New Jersey 7-2-1; New York 6-3-1
This is the third of six meetings. They split the first two matchups in New Jersey, with the Devils losing once in regulation and winning in a shootout last Tuesday.
While the Rangers have been a model of consistency this season, the Devils have had their share of ups and downs. The Devils are looking for their first five-game winning streak of the season on the heels of losing three in a row. Before that skid, they won three straight and five of six. If the Devils want to make a run at the Atlantic Division, beating the East-leading Rangers is key.
Their hot streak has featured three victories against teams ahead of them in the Atlantic -- the Rangers, Flyers and Penguins. The latest victory, a 5-2 rout of the Penguins on Sunday, featured a three-point game from Ilya Kovalchuk
and a two-point game from Zach Parise
Calder Trophy candidate Adam Henrique
returned from a groin injury, and Martin Brodeur
made 28 saves for his third straight win.
"Everybody talked about how we can't play against teams that are on top of us," Kovalchuk said. "I think we sent a little message to the League -- all the teams -- that we're right there and they just have to be careful."
The Devils aren't the only team coming off a convincing win against the Flyers over the weekend. The Rangers won a physical contest against Philadelphia on Sunday, 5-2, in a game that had four fights.
made 21 saves to win his fourth straight start, and Artem Anisimov
had a goal and two assists to snap a string of 17 games without a point. It was a team effort in every facet of the game for the Rangers.
"That's a big part of our game," coach John Tortorella said. "That’s the way we have to play. When another team joins in, it mounts. Everybody gets involved. We're the sum of our parts. That's how we play. That's the only way we can play. Everyone needs to join in in all areas like that."
Who's Hot: Ilya Kovalchuk
has been on fire since the All-Star break. In four games, he has 3 goals and 7 assists.
Injury Report: Adam Larsson
(back) has missed two games since he absorbed a thundering hit from Montreal's P.K. Subban. Henrik Tallinder
(leg), Travis Zajac
(Achilles) and Ryan Carter
(hand) will all be out. … Rangers defenseman Steve Eminger
(shoulder) has been medically cleared to play and could return to the lineup. If he does come back, it could be rookie Stu Bickel
who loses his spot in the lineup.
The Rangers haven't scored a 5-on-4 goal since Jan. 5. They have just two power-play goals in their last 44 chances with the man advantage.
"We're taking care of business. We know where we were heading into the All-Star break. The guys got a good rest, but we have a lot of veterans in there that have won their Stanley Cup rings, and they knew individually and collectively that we were going to have to take our game to another level over the last 30 games. I think that's what you're seeing." -- Devils coach Pete DeBoer