Upcoming games: Devils, March 19, 7:30 p.m.; Red Wings, March 21, 7:30 p.m.; Sabres, March 23, 7:00 p.m.; @ Maple Leafs, 7:00 p.m.
New Jersey Devils (87 points, 6th place, 41-26-5)
The Rangers are 2-2-1 against the Devils this season. The Devils beat the Rangers 4-1 back on March 6 after a three goal outburst in the third period. New Jersey is 6-3-1 over its last ten games. They were outworked by the hot Penguins 5-2 on Saturday. Devils winger Ilya Kovalchuk has five goals and five assists in his last seven games. Goaltender Martin Brodeur is 3-2 over his last five games. This is the final meeting between the Rangers and Devils this season.
Detroit Red Wings (92 points, 5th place, 44-24-4)
This is the first and only meeting between the two teams. The Red Wings’ veteran captain and star defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom has been out since February 25 with a bone bruise. The Wings are 3-5-1 without him. They fell 3-2 in overtime on Saturday when Martin Havlat scored the game winner for the San Jose Sharks. Center Darren Helm was injured after colliding with Sharks forward Dominic Moore for a big hit. Other key Wing’s already on the injury list include: top goal scorer Johan Franzen (back spasms), Jonathan Ericsson (wrist), Jakub Kindl (sprained oblique), Joey MacDonald (lower back) and Patrick Eaves (post-concussion). Goaltender Jimmy Howard is 1-3-2 in his last six starts.
Buffalo Sabres (76 points, 10th place, 33-29-10)
The Rangers are 3-0 against the Sabres this season. They defeated the playoff hungry Sabres 3-2 on February 25 in overtime after Ryan Callahan beat goaltender Ryan Miller. Buffalo is 6-2-2 in its last ten games as it strives to slip into the eighth and final playoff spot, two points behind. They lost 3-2 in shootout that lasted seven rounds to the Florida Panthers on Saturday. Winger Tyler Ennis has registered at least a point in each of his last four games and has seven points in his last five games. Miller is 3-0-2 in his last five starts. Tyler Myers should be back in the lineup by the time the Sabres hit Broadway. The defenseman was suspended three games after a crushing hit from behind waged on Canadien’s forward Scott Gomez.
Toronto Maple Leafs (72 points, 12th place, 32-32-8)
The Rangers are 1-2 against the Maple Leafs this season. They shut out the Leafs 3-0 back on January 14. Though the Leafs have struggled 3-6-1 over their last ten games, they have won their last two games by a two goal margin. They beat the Senators 3-1 on Saturday after some timely third period power play goals from Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf. Their power play percentage is currently the sixth best in the league. James Reimer made 29 saves in the win. The team recently fired its head coach Ron Wilson after a monumental slide out of playoff contention. General manager Brian Burke hopes former Ducks’ coach Randy Carlyle can turn things around.