Skip to main content

Devils and Rangers both desperate for points

by Mike G. Morreale

RANGERS (14-12-2) at DEVILS (13-10-6)


Last 10: Rangers 6-4-0, Devils 3-5-2

Season series: This is the second of four meetings between the Hudson River rivals. The Devils won 3-1 on Feb. 5 when David Clarkson scored twice and Martin Brodeur made 24 saves at Prudential Center. The clubs will twice meet at Madison Square Garden in the final week of the season.

Big story: Brodeur practiced with his teammates on Monday for the first time since Feb. 24. Brodeur told reporters that he was sidelined for almost a month after pinching a nerve in his neck/upper back that was causing numbness in his shoulder and arm. It's possible Brodeur, who hasn't played since Feb. 21, could serve as backup to Johan Hedberg against the Rangers. Devils coach Pete DeBoer said on Monday that Hedberg would make his 13th straight start. He is 3-7-2 with a 2.92 goals-against average over the past 12 starts.

Team Scope:

Rangers: Henrik Lundqvist, who made 29 saves in a 2-1 shootout victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday, is 2-6-1 on the road this season. Still, he's limited opponents to three or fewer goals in each of the past nine games, posting a 5-4-0 mark over that span. Backup goalie Martin Biron has made just one appearance in the month of March -- stopping 28 shots in a 4-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on March 10. The Rangers are ninth in the Eastern Conference with 30 points, two behind Toronto, Winnipeg and New Jersey, who hold the last three playoff spots.

"It means nothing if we don't go into Jersey and play the same way, or go into Jersey and get a win," captain Ryan Callahan said after the win against Carolina. "You're only as good as your last game, so we have to go to Jersey and show that kind of effort we did in the second and third and pucks will start going in for us too. … We know we have guys in here that can score goals and it's going to come."

Devils: Peter Harrold scored his first goal of the season and Hedberg made 20 saves but it wasn't enough as the Canadiens scored a 2-1 victory on Saturday. Harrold's goal, which tied the game 3:54 into the second period, was his first in two seasons with the Devils and first since Dec. 2, 2010, when he was a member of the Los Angeles Kings. The Devils have outshot their opponent in 10 straight games (3-5-2) but have been outscored 30-19 during that stretch.

DeBoer wants his team to remember that each of the Devils' 19 remaining games is important.

"They're all big," DeBoer said. "For me, there's two teams at the top of each conference and one or two at the bottom and then there's everybody else and it's going to be who can separate themselves from the pack over the last 19 games. Our mindset is Rangers or whoever we're playing we had to start picking up points on a nightly basis."

Who's hot: Devils' right wing Ilya Kovalchuk has three goals and eight points in his past nine games. Kovalchuk is six assists shy of 400 for his career. … Second-line center Derek Stepan has three goals and four points in the past five games.

Injury report: Brodeur (back) and forward Andrei Loktionov (undisclosed) are questionable for New Jersey, and Dainius Zubrus (wrist) and Henrik Tallinder (lower body) remain out. … The Rangers are without forward Arron Asham (back) and defenseman Marc Staal (eye).

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.