New York Rangers
vs. New Jersey Devils
Rangers Record: 43-33-5
Devils Record: 37-38-5
It’s do or die for the Rangers tomorrow, when they take on
the Devils at home in an afternoon matinee. It is the last regular season game
for the Rangers, who can clinch a playoff spot with a win. The Devils, though
not fighting for playoff position, still have enough at stake; they can salvage
a .500 winning percentage this season with one more win of their two remaining
On Thursday, the Rangers squandered an opportunity to shore
up their playoff position with a loss against eleventh-place Atlanta. The
Rangers, missing injured forward Ryan Callahan mightily, did not manage to
score any goals against the Thrashers. Additionally, they were forced to play
defenseman Matt Gilroy as a forward on the fourth line, exemplifying the team’s
immense struggles with injury this season.
In response to Callahan’s injury, the Rangers today recalled
forward Mats Zuccarello from the Connecticut Whale. The Rangers continue to
suffer from injuries to forwards Derek Boogaard, Chris Drury and Alex Frolov,
none of whom are expected to return for this last regular-season game.
It will be up to the Rangers’ day-to-day grinders—players
like Brian Boyle, Brandon Dubinsky and Stephen McDonald Extra Effort
Award-Winner Brandon Prust—to lead the team in the absence of Callahan and
Drury, in particular. It will be up to superstars Marian Gaborik and Henrik
Lundqvist to show, by example, how this team needs to play to win. In short, it
is going to take an entire team effort to get this victory against a
revitalized and dangerous Devils team who would like nothing better than to
spoil the Rangers’ playoff hopes.
It’s time to prove what this team is really made of.