A bronze Olympic medalist lifted the New York Rangers to their seventh straight win. A gold medalist will try and extend that streak.
The Rangers are expected to have Henrik Lundqvist
back in net as they meet the New Jersey Devils at the Continental Airlines Arena.
Lundqvist was 5-1-0 with a 2.33 goals-against average and .907 save percentage for Sweden. He also made 25 saves in outplaying fellow NHL rookie Antero Niittymaki in a 3-2 win Sunday over Finland that gave the Swedes their first gold medal since the 1994 Lillehammer Games.
The league leader in wins among rookie goaltenders, Lundqvist won his last four games leading up to the break, including a 19-save performance Feb. 10 in a 4-2 home win over Toronto.
The Olympic break did not cool off the Rangers. NHL scoring leader Jaromir Jagr scored twice and added an assist before resting a sore groin in the third period Thursday during the Rangers' 6-1 rout of Philadelphia.It is the latest the Rangers have been in first place since the 1995-96 season.Jagr scored two power-play goals in the second period to give the Rangers a 3-0 lead. His second goal also gave him 1,400 career points."I got lucky, I scored," said Jagr, who has nine goals and six assists in a six-game points streak. "What do you want me to say?"Both Lundqvist and Jagr have enjoyed success against the Devils this season.Lundqvist is 2-0-1 with a 1.64 GAA in three games. Jagr had two goals and an assist Nov. 3 in 4-2 win at New Jersey. Overall, Jagr has three goals and three assists in six games versus the Devils.After winning in their first game back from the Olympics, the Devils lost 3-2 in a shootout Thursday to the New York Islanders.Scott Gomez and Jay Pandolfo scored in regulation, but Martin Brodeur gave up shootout tallies to Miroslav Satan and Trent Hunter.The loss prevented Brodeur from becoming the first goaltender with 30 wins in 10 straight seasons."It seems to be the main number for a lot of goalies," Brodeur said. "I wish I could have gotten it, but I'll have more chances
Brodeur is just 2-2-0 against the Rangers this season, but is 31-13-15 with six career shutouts versus them.
STANDINGS (through March 2): Rangers - 80 points, 1st place, Atlantic Division. Devils - 69 points, 3rd place, 11 PB, Atlantic Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Rangers - Jagr, 42 goals and 91 points; Jagr and Martin Straka, 49 assists; Darius Kasparaitis, 85 PIM. Devils - Brian Gionta, 33 goals and 58 points; Gomez, 34 assists; Colin White, 61 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 2): Rangers - Power play: 18.6 percent (61 for 328), 8th in NHL. Penalty killing: 85.1 percent (303 for 356), 5th (tied). Devils - Power play: 17.0 percent (57 for 335), 20th. Penalty killing: 81.6 percent (213 for 261), 17th.
GOALTENDERS: Rangers - Lundqvist (25-7-6, 2 SO, 2.09 GAA); Kevin Weekes (11-8-2, 0, 2.89). Devils - Brodeur (29-18-5, 5, 2.50); Scott Clemmensen (2-4-2, 0, 3.83).
SEASON SERIES: Rangers, 4-2.
LAST MEETING: Jan. 22; Rangers, 3-1. At New York, Lundqvist made 31 saves, and Martin Rucinsky assisted on goals by Petr Prucha and Dominic Moore. Gomez scored for the Devils.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Rangers - 17-9-3 on the road; Devils - 19-8-3 at home.