Rangers vs. Devils
Madison Square Garden, 7 pm
Rangers Record: 7 - 2 - 0
Devils Record: 4 - 3 - 0
Forgive and forget. That's how the Rangers are looking at tonight's contest against the New Jersey Devils.
Sure, there are things they learned from their first loss in the last eight games. Play three periods. Limit penalties. Better defensive zone work. But overall, the Rangers have been pretty darn good this season so one loss shouldn't derail this impressive train.
The Devils are playing decent hockey, but injuries have again plagued them. Scorer Patrick Elias continues to battle the injury bug leaving Zach Parise as the lone source of offense.
Center Travis Zajac has matched pace with the speedy Parise, both scoring seven points on the season.
From the back end, New Jersey relies heavily on former-turned-current Head Coach Jacques Lemaire's defensive system. No Devils' defenseman has more than two points on the year.
However, for the Dev's, defense is more about parity and limiting shots on future Hall Of Fame goalie Martin Brodeur. Bryce Salvador, Paul Martin, Andy Greene and Colin White all have two points and have fairly consistent +/-. This depth gives the Devils a reliable pairing every shift.
Speaking of Brodeur, the stalwart on the Devils' goal line has started in all seven games with a 2.68 GAA and .903 save percentage.
Specialty teams will be a key factor for this matchup as the rejuvenated Rangers' power play is based heavily on crashing the crease and traffic in front, something that Brodeur struggles with. Add to that the always entertaining Avery-Brodeur feud, and this game could produce some fireworks.
In their first meeting of the season, a 3 - 2 victory for the Rangers, Avery was still injured.
For the Rangers, the roster will be very similar although it appears that the third line will continue to be juggled, with Steve Zipay most recently reporting that Artem Anisimov would center Chris Higgins and Enver Lisin. This would shoot Ales Kotalik down to the fourth line.
The top two lines will remain in tact.
Henrik Lundqvist will be back in net after relieving Steve Valliquette against San Jose.
We will be live blogging throughout the game, so stick around!