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Devils-Rangers Preview

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Coming off their worst defensive effort in nearly 14 years, the New York Rangers will next face a division rival eager to end a losing streak.

The Atlantic Division-leading Rangers welcome the slumping New Jersey Devils on Sunday to Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers (18-11-4) haven't won four in a row against the Devils at MSG since Oct. 31, 1993-March 8, 1995. New York also is 4-1-1 in its last six regular-season home games against the Devils, including a win in the final regular-season meeting in 2005-06 and two victories this season.

The Rangers, though, were swept by the Devils in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series last April.

New Jersey (17-12-2), which trails the Rangers by four points, is trying to avoid losing four straight in regulation for the first time since a six-game slide from Nov. 2-14, 2000. The Devils dropped the last four games of a five-game road trip from Nov. 18-27, but their defeat to Los Angeles in the final contest came in a shootout.

The Rangers had one of their worst games in recent memory with a 9-2 loss to Toronto on Saturday, ending a season-high five-game winning streak. New York hadn't given up nine goals in a game since Jan. 24, 2004 in a loss to Ottawa.

Henrik Lundqvist, a 30-game winner as a rookie last season who had given up only five goals in his last three starts, surrendered a career-high eight goals over two periods before giving way to Kevin Weekes.

"We were just completely inept in front of Lundqvist tonight," Rangers coach Tom Renney said. "I thought we would be better than we were. I'm not surprised by this, but I am disappointed."

New York, which was outshot 32-13, had surrendered just seven goals during its win streak.

"I don't know what to say," Lundqvist said. "It was a tough game. And tomorrow is another tough game."

Jaromir Jagr assisted on goals by Darius Kasparaitis and Martin Straka after being held without a point in the first two games of a three-game road trip that started with wins over Philadelphia and Dallas. Jagr - the Rangers' leading scorer with 46 points this season - scored goals 26 seconds apart early in the third period of a 3-2 win over New Jersey on Nov. 14.

The Devils' 13-year home domination of the Red Wings ended with a 2-1 loss to Detroit on Saturday. Leading 1-0 after two periods on a power-play goal by Scott Gomez, New Jersey's Martin Brodeur gave up goals to Pavel Datsyuk and Brett Lebda 2:16 apart in the third.

It was the Red Wings' first win in New Jersey since Nov. 20, 1993, a span of nine games which included two defeats in the 1995 Stanley Cup.

Devils coach Claude Julien said his team spent too much time in the penalty box.

"Where we used to win games earlier on because we were a very disciplined team, lately it's cost us," Julien said. "We've taken a lot of penalties and the energy trying to kill them off takes away some of our momentum."

Unlike past seasons, Brodeur has had trouble trying to stop the Rangers as he's allowed seven goals in two losses this season. The two-time Vezina Trophy winner had been 33-13 with 15 ties, a 2.10 goals-against average and six career shutouts against New York heading into this season.

Brodeur hasn't lost three straight starts to the Rangers since dropping four in a row as a rookie in 1993-94.

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