Tuesday, November 12, 2013
W2W4: Rangers vs. Devils
By Katie Strang
At a glance: Winners of three straight, the Rangers host the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night looking to avenge the last loss to their Hudson River rivals. Smarting from a grueling West Coast road trip, the Rangers were blanked by the Devils 4-0 back on Oct. 19, but they’ve regained some swagger in recent weeks with improved play and a record that is now above .500. Meanwhile, the Devils have fallen three points back of the Blueshirts. New Jersey enters Tuesday’s match coming off a decisive 5-0 win over Nashville on Sunday night.
Battle of the best: The last time the two teams met, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist squared off with an unfamiliar face in the opposing net. After years of going head-to-head with future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur, Lundqvist squared off against Devils newcomer Cory Schneider instead. Tuesday, all will be back to normal as Brodeur gets the start for New Jersey. Lundqvist is 24-7-5 with a 1.97 goals-against average, .926 save percentage and seven shutouts in 36 regular-season games against Brodeur. The 41-year-old Devils stopper is on a roll, however, having posted two straight shutouts heading into Tuesday's clash.
Young guns: For the Rangers, youngsters like Carl Hagelin and Chris Kreider have made all the difference as of late. Since his return from injury, Hagelin has eight points in seven games, seven of which have come in the past five. Kreider has two goals and seven points in the past eight. Even J.T. Miller is making his mark. The 20-year-old prospect tallied his first goal of the season Sunday night, capping a pretty passing sequence set up by superb plays from Kreider and defenseman Ryan McDonagh.
Stingy on D: Both teams have buckled down on defense and limited opponents recently. The Devils have held teams to two goals or fewer in six of their past seven games, while the Rangers had gone nine straight such games before giving up three to Florida in Sunday’s win.