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Different atmosphere, same game for Rangers, Devils

by Mike G. Morreale

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault believes having an opportunity to play consecutive games on the infield ice at Yankee Stadium in the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series this week will be a nice change of pace at this point in the season.

The Rangers will face the New Jersey Devils on Sunday (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC) and the New York Islanders (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS2) on Wednesday.

"I think for the teams, having an opportunity to play outside and in front of great fans is going to be real exciting," Vigneault said. "It's a great time in the schedule; 82 games sometimes can be a little bit challenging."

Vigneault believes that although the game Sunday against the Devils might be a good diversion to the rigors of a regular-season schedule, he expects another tough battle between the teams.

"This is a different atmosphere, different environment, but as far as the sheet of ice, the 200-by-85, it stays the same," Vigneault said. "It's going to be the same game, except there will probably be a heightened sense of awareness and a little bit more excitement out there. It should be pleasant and a lot of fun for everybody."

The Rangers and Devils have been separated by two goals or less in 17 of their past 24 games. The Devils lead the all-time series, 85-77-27, including 54-33-7 in their previous 94 home games. The Rangers will serve as the visiting team for both outdoor games this week.

"The [Devils and Islanders] are both good teams; they're both teams that play a solid game," Vigneault said. "Our focus, obviously, is on the Devils [Sunday], a team that plays a real structured, real hard defensive game.

"They've got some good size up front. If any part of your game, goaltending, defense, offense, power play, penalty killing, is not real sharp, there's a chance you might not win the game. So we're going to be ready in all areas of our game, have to be real good."

Devils starting goalie Martin Brodeur has won two of the three games this season against the Rangers with a 2.47 goals-against average and .915 save percentage. Rangers starter Henrik Lundqvist has started all three games against New Jersey and is 0-2-1 with a 3.69 GAA and .845 save percentage.

Vigneault said he hasn't determined his starting goalie for Wednesday against the Islanders.

Brodeur's next victory against the Rangers will be the 50th of his career. He is 49-30-5 with 15 ties and nine shutouts in 99 regular-season games against the Hudson River rival.

"At the end of the day, we're just playing hockey; it's fun, it's great, but we're not really here to put on a big show," Brodeur said. "We just want to play hockey; play good, solid hockey and try to get two points out of it. We're in a tight race with a lot of teams in [the Metropolitan Division] and [Eastern Conference]. So these points are really valuable."

Here are the projected line combinations for both teams:


Jacob Josefson - Travis Zajac - Jaromir Jagr

Dainius Zubrus - Patrik Elias - Damien Brunner

Ryane Clowe - Adam Henrique - Michael Ryder

Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier

Andy Greene - Mark Fayne

Bryce Salvador - Eric Gelinas

Marek Zidlicky - Anton Volchenkov

Martin Brodeur

Cory Schneider

Scratched: Andrei Loktionov, Jon Merrill

Injured: Peter Harrold (foot)


Derek Stepan - Chris Kreider - Rick Nash

Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - Ryan Callahan

Benoit Pouliot - Mats Zuccarello - Derick Brassard

Daniel Carcillo - Dominic Moore - Brian Boyle

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi

Marc Staal - Anton Stralman

Kevin Klein - John Moore

Henrik Lundqvist

Cam Talbot

Scratched: Justin Falk

Injured: Derek Dorsett (broken leg)

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