Already seven games into the new season, the Devils will play just their second home game of 2013-14 when they host the Rangers at Prudential Center on Saturday.
Cory Schneider will make his fourth start, first on home ice. He's looking to nail down the first victory that has proven elusive through the club's 0-4-3 start.
"It's going to be fun," Schneider said of facing the Devils' cross-river rivals. "It's going to be a tough game. Obviously, I don't think they started they wanted to and neither have we. I think you're going to see two teams that are pretty desperate to get a win. We haven't been home for awhile now so hopefully we'll get a good crowd and get a lot of support."
Thursday's loss in Ottawa came with a silver lining: the Devils finally broke through on the power play while outchancing and outshooting the Senators, 42-23, in their home opener. After falling behind 3-0, New Jersey rallied on goals by Travis Zajac and Steve Bernier to get back within one.
"I think we were in the right place last night," Schneider said. "I think we played really well and played the way we wanted to play, especially on the road. … Eventually, when you keep doing that, it's a long season and you're going to have ups and downs and those are going to come back and they're going to go in your favor next time."
Schneider faced the Rangers in preseason and stopped all 22 shots in a two-period outing. He's ready for his first real Battle of the Hudson and expects emotions to run high.
"Maybe this is something we need," he said. "Maybe we need a big hit or a fight or a scrap of some kind just to sort of light the fire here, but at the same time, we can't let that get in the way of what we need to do here. We can't get caught up in the emotion of playing your rival and let that take away from what we actually have to do to win the game."
Speaking with reporters Friday after a limited skate that included seven players, head coach Peter DeBoer stopped short of calling Saturday's game a must-win.
"I'm not big on must-wins," DeBoer said. "There's no doubt we need a win. I think we need a win for our confidence. I'm really not looking at the standings right now. For me, it's an evaluation of how our team is playing and where our team game is and where our identity is. I thought we took a real good step [Thursday] night in Ottawa and we need to keep building on that. If we do, we'll win games. That's my view of it."
But rivalry matchup or not, the Devils will be energized against a divisional opponent.
"It doesn't get any more urgent than where we're sitting right now," DeBoer said. "I don't think you can ramp up the urgency any more for our group. Complacency isn't an issue right now."
If the Devils can recreate the right elements of Thursday's performance that included a season-high eight shots by Jaromir Jagr and a 19-shot third period, DeBoer believes the result will take care of itself.
"I think the guys see that when we play a certain way, when we play a certain style and with a certain amount of grit and edge to our game, we get rewarded," said the coach. "We had chances that doubled or tripled what Ottawa had. It hasn't resulted in a win yet, but if you keep going to that formula, it will."
• Players taking part in Friday's skate were Schneider, Mark Fayne, Adam Larsson, Mattias Tedenby, Andrei Loktionov, Jacob Josefson and Rostislav Olesz.