Avoiding what could’ve been an easy emotional letdown after the team’s pivotal win in Columbus, Ohio, just one night prior, the Rangers brought the same type of tenacity into New Jersey.
Brodeur was fantastic in what might be his last head-to-head battle with Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, but Nash caught him distracted midway through the second period for the game’s first goal.
Meanwhile, Lundqvist passed Eddie Giacomin to become the Rangers’ all-time shutout leader with the 50th of his career.
The Rangers now return home to for a two-game set at Madison Square Garden, hosting the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday and division rival Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday, after which they will embark on a four-game road trip.
Sparks fly: There appeared to be an emotional carryover from the Rangers’ fiery performance in Columbus one night prior, as the chippiness between the Blueshirts and Devils escalated quickly in the first period. Multiple scuffles had to be diffused throughout the first frame, including a shoving match between Daniel Carcillo and Devils captain Bryce Salvador and a tussle between Mats Zuccarello and Patrik Elias. The Rangers entered Saturday’s action just one night after a heated battle against the Blue Jackets, a huge win for New York to swap spots with Columbus and reclaim the third spot in the Metropolitan Division.
Down and out: Rocked by a hit from Columbus’ Blake Comeau, defenseman John Moore did not play Saturday because of concussion-like symptoms. It is not immediately clear how long he will be missing, though his injury cleared the way for trade-deadline acquisition Raphael Diaz to make his debut.
Nursing some wounds: There are a few mystery players on the Rangers roster that are nursing some "bumps and bruises," according to coach Alain Vigneault. Both newly signed college free agent Ryan Haggerty and depth defenseman Justin Faulk took warmups, though the two players were ultimately scratched. Keep an eye in the coming days, though. Whoever needs a "maintenance" day at practice in the upcoming week might be a bit more hampered than they appear.
Last-minute change: Interesting item to note: Vigneault discussed at length the need to use Diaz on the left side with defensive partner Kevin Klein (a fellow right-hander), though Diaz played on the right side during his Rangers debut with Klein skating on the left instead. Prior to Klein’s acquisition, the Rangers were desperate for righties to achieve some balance on the blue line. Now, they are swiveling spots to make way for yet another.