RANGERS (42-15-7) at DEVILS (36-24-5)
TV: MSG 2, MSG PLUS
New York 6-2-2; New Jersey 5-4-1
This is the fifth of six meetings between the cross-river rivals. The teams have split the season series. The Rangers scored a 2-0 victory on Feb. 27 when Henrik Lundqvist
needed just 13 saves to notch his eighth shutout of the season and 43rd of his career. The teams have one final meeting March 19 at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers won for the ninth time in 13 games on Sunday to move into first place in the NHL standings with 91 points following a 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins. The Vancouver Canucks rank second with 90 points. New York increased its lead over Boston to 12 points in the Eastern Conference standings, while opening a 10-point gap over Pittsburgh for the Atlantic Division lead. The Devils, meanwhile, are sixth in the East with 77 points.
The Rangers defeated the Bruins for the fifth straight time, dating to last season, following a 4-3 victory on Sunday. Derek Stepan
and Marian Gaborik
both scored tiebreaking goals in the third period. Lundqvist made 30 saves to improve to 31-12-5 on the season. The Rangers are 20-5-2 in their last 27 games against the defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins and 16 of the last 20 meetings have been decided by one goal. New York is 10-4-2 in one-goal games against Boston over the span.
The Devils dropped a 1-0 decision to the New York Islanders on Sunday in the first of three meetings between the teams in a seven-day stretch. After meeting the Rangers, the Devils will again face the Islanders on Thursday in Newark and Saturday on Long Island. Martin Brodeur
made 24 saves in the loss to the Islanders on Sunday. The Devils have won just once in their last six games and two of those losses have come via shutout.
Gaborik, who leads the team with 32 goals and 58 points, has recorded 24 points in his last 22 appearances. Lundqvist, meanwhile, is 11-2-1 with a 1.55 goals-against average, .943 save percentage and four shutouts in his last 14 games.
The Devils were without left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky
(right knee) and defenseman Andy Greene
(back spasms) against the Islanders. Center Travis Zajac
(left Achilles tendon) and defenseman Henrik Tallinder
(blood clot) are out. … Rangers captain Ryan Callahan
missed his third straight game (bruised foot) against the Bruins on Sunday and defenseman Michael Sauer
(concussion) is out.
Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk
has gone nine games without a goal, but has produced 6 assists over that stretch. … Rangers' Stepan has tallied 4 goals and 12 points in the last 15 games, including 1 goal and 4 points over the last three contests.
The Rangers are 30-1-3 when scoring the first goal of the game. … The shorthanded goal by center Patrik Elias
on Friday in a 5-0 victory over the Washington Capitals was the Devils' League-leading 14th of the season. They have also allowed a League-leading 13 shorthanded tallies.