GAME: New Jersey Devils (30-17-11-1) at New York Rangers (22-27-7-4).
TIME: Saturday, 1 p.m. EST.
The New York Rangers' surprising success against their area rivals this
season is one of the main reasons they are even on the fringes of the Eastern
Conference playoff race.
The Rangers will look to continue that trend when they take on the
struggling New Jersey Devils in yet another critical opportunity to gain
With 55 points, the Rangers are 11 behind the Montreal Canadiens and New
York Islanders for one of the final two East postseason berths, and have just
22 games remaining.
The desperate Rangers broke a three-game losing streak Thursday night with
yet another victory over the Islanders, earning a brawl-filled 6-2 victory at
Madison Square Garden.
Mike Dunham made 30 saves, several in spectacular fashion, and six Rangers
scored as they improved to 5-0 against the Islanders this season.
"We came out skating hard, we forechecked hard and created some scoring
chances and took advantage of it," Dunham said.
The Rangers played with energy and discipline, something they have rarely
done consistently this season, before engaging their archrivals in a
fight-marred third period.
Now the Rangers will attempt to carry that effort and emotion over to
Saturday's matinee matchup with the Devils, another area rival that they have
managed to play to a 1-1-1 tie in the season series.
Prior to its three-game losing streak, New York's last victory was a 3-1 win
over New Jersey on Feb. 11. That win was only the Rangers' third in the regular
season (3-21-13) over New Jersey since 1997, and first in regulation against
the Devils since March 31, 2001.
On Saturday, the Rangers hope to take advantage of a Devils club that has
slumped in the last two weeks and has been unable to make up ground in the race
for the Atlantic Division crown. New Jersey trails first-place Philadelphia by
six points, and only the Flyers' three straight losses have kept the Devils
New Jersey is in sixth place in the conference, only six points ahead of
Montreal and the Islanders.
New Jersey fell to 2-4-1 in its last seven with a 3-1 defeat to the
last-place Washington Capitals on Thursday night. Olaf Kolzig frustrated the
Devils with 43 saves and the Caps won their first game without star forward
Peter Bondra, traded to Ottawa on Wednesday.
"We can't give away points like that," said New Jersey forward Patrik
Elias, who scored in the second period off a rebound. "We need every point."
Devils coach Pat Burns gave goaltender Martin Brodeur the night off in place
of Scott Clemmensen, who made 23 saves but suffered his first NHL loss.
Brodeur, who has gone 2-3-1 in his last six games and allowed 18 goals,
should be back in the net Saturday. He has posted a 1.97 goals-against average
in the three games against the Rangers this season.
STANDINGS: Devils - 72 points, 2nd place, 6 PB, Atlantic Division. Rangers -
55 points, 4th place, 23 PB, Atlantic Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Devils - Elias, 21 goals and 46 points; Scott Gomez, 29
assists; Colin White, 58 PIM. Rangers - Jaromir Jagr, 21 goals, 36 assists and
57 points; Chris Simon, 208 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Feb. 19): Devils - Power play: 15.6 percent (35 for
224), 18th in NHL. Penalty killing: 85.4 percent (169 for 298), 7th. Rangers -
Power play: 14.2 percent (33 for 233), 25th. Penalty killing: 80.8 percent (235
for 291), 27th.
GOALTENDERS: Devils - Brodeur (27-17-10, 10 SO, 2.01 GAA); Clemmensen
(1-1-0, 1, 1.53). Rangers - Dunham (14-20-6, 1, 2.81); Jussi Markkanen (8-10-1,
SEASON SERIES: 1-1-1.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 11; Rangers, 3-1. At East Rutherford, N.J., defensemen
Tom Poti and Boris Mironov scored first-period goals, and Dunham made 28 saves
to lead New York.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Devils - 14-7-7-0 on the road; Rangers - 12-13-3-4 at