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Rangers try to keep Devils winless

by Dan Rosen /

RANGERS (2-4-0) at DEVILS (0-3-4)


Season series: This is the first of five meetings between the cross-river rivals. They played four times last season and the New York Rangers won the final three meetings.

Big story: The Rangers will be playing their seventh straight road game and are looking for their first winning streak of the season after beating the Washington Capitals on Wednesday, 2-0. The New Jersey Devils are trying to pick up their first win of the season. This is only their second home game.

Team Scope:

Rangers: Just when it appeared things might be looking up for the Rangers after their dreadful start to the season, captain Ryan Callahan will be out 3-4 weeks with a broken thumb, an injury he sustained while blocking a shot late in the win at Washington.

The Rangers are already playing without Rick Nash (concussion) and Carl Hagelin (shoulder), who was cleared for contact earlier this week but is still on long-term injured reserve and therefore has to sit out at least the first 10 games. Hagelin won't be eligible to return until Oct. 29 against the New York Islanders.

To replace Callahan, the Rangers recalled Darroll Powe from the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League. He presumably got the recall over candidates like Chris Kreider and Danny Kristo because he can take over Callahan's responsibilities on the penalty kill.

"It's bad news, but hopefully he's back really quick," forward Brad Richards said of Callahan. "We have to get guys to fill in for him at all ends of the ice."

Devils: New Jersey is coming off a 5-2 road loss to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday and is the only team in the NHL is still seeking its first win. The Devils are 27th in the League in goals-per game 1.86, which is 0.03 better than the Rangers. Their power play is clicking just 9.1 percent of the time, and to make matters worse they are giving up 3.43 goals per game.

Defenseman Marek Zidlicky leads the Devils with five points, all assists. Despite going four straight games without a goal, Damien Brunner still leads New Jersey in that category with three.

The biggest problem is the Devils have gone from building and eventually blowing leads, which they did against the Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames, to not even coming close in games. Their last two losses were 3-0 at the Winnipeg Jets and the 5-2 drubbing in Ottawa.

"I'm not big on must-wins," coach Peter DeBoer told reporters on Friday, according to The (Bergen) Record. "There's no doubt we need a win. I think we need a win for our confidence. I'm really not looking at the standings right now. For me, it's an evaluation of how our team is playing and where our team game is and where our identity is. I thought we took a real good step [Thursday] night in Ottawa and you keep building on that and if we do we'll win games. That's my view of it."

Who's hot: After wondering if the Rangers were going to issue him an amnesty buyout this past summer, Richards has gotten off to a hot start with seven points on four goals and three assists in the first six games. He had assists on both of the goals in the win over the Capitals.

Injury report: The Rangers are without Callahan (broken thumb), Nash (concussion) and Hagelin (shoulder surgery). … The Devils won't have former Ranger Ryane Clowe (head), who is on injured reserve.

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