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Rangers Open Back-to-Back In New Jersey

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

The Rangers begin a back-to-back set Saturday against the Devils in New Jersey.

New York topped the Maple Leafs, 2-1 in a shootout, Thursday night in Toronto. J.T. Miller scored the game-tying goal in the third period, while Mats Zuccarello and Mika Zibanejad beat Frederick Andersen in the shootout. Henrik Lundqvist made 32 saves in the win.

Lundqvist, though, won't be in net Saturday against the Devils, as Antti Raanta will get the start between the pipes. Raanta has started just one game since Jan. 14 due to injury and the All Star break, but that start was a strong one when he backstopped New York to a win in Columbus on Feb. 13. He's 3-0-0 with a 1.67 GAA .914 SV% with one shutout against New Jersey for his career.

Derek Stepan has a point in seven of his last 11 games against New Jersey, with eight goals and four assists during that span.

Kevin Klein will not play Saturday due to back spasms. Adam Clendening will play and is expected to be paired with Brady Skjei.

The Rangers come into Saturday's game with the most road wins in the NHL with 20, and have lost just two games away from The Garden in 2017.

New Jersey, meanwhile, have struggled at home this season, going 13-12-4 at Prudential Center. Overall, the 25-25-10 Devils are 5-4-1 in their last 10 games and currently sit eight points out of the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Devils have struggled offensively this season, with their 139 goals for this season the lowest in the conference. The offseason addition of Taylor Hall has helped, with the forward leading the team with 40 points.

Kyle Palmieri is having a strong season with a team-high 16 goals, and Adam Henrique has 15.

While scoring has been a challenge, keeping pucks out of their net has also been difficult for the Devils this season. New Jersey has allowed the fifth-most goals in the East with 172, and have the worst goal differential in the conference at minus-33.

Goaltender Cory Schneider has played better as of late, going 5-3-1 since Jan. 31. He's 19-18-8 with a 2.61 GAA and a .914 SV% with two shutouts this season.

Saturday marks the third of four meetings between these rivals, and the first in New Jersey. The Rangers won the previous two at Madison Square Garden, including a 3-2 shootout win on Dec. 18. 

The Rangers have earned at least one point in 14 of their last 18 games against the Devils dating back to March 19, 2013, and have gone 12-4-2 during that span.

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