One more time.
For the final time this season, the Rangers and Devils will add another chapter to their blood feud.
Only, this time, there is a “Freaky Friday” feel to the game.
For the first time since the 2009-10 season, the Blueshirts are not participating in the playoffs.
As for the Devils, it’s the first time they are appearing in the postseason since their trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2012.
So, with the script flipped and New Jersey needing a win to clinch a playoff berth, this game will have an unusual vibe to it.
DEEP ROOTED CONNECTIONS
Michael Grabner played parts of the last two seasons with the Rangers (2016-2018).
Defenseman John Moore played three seasons for the Blueshirts (2012-13 – 2014-15).
Center Brian Boyle spent five seasons in New York (2009-10 – 2013-14). He also helped the team advance to the Stanley Cup Final in 2013-14.
Kevin Hayes and Jimmy Hayes are brothers and have moved their sibling rivalry from New York-Boston to New York-New Jersey.
Jesper Fast: His recent hot-streak has Fast nearing a nice round number. And that number is 100 career points; he’s two away.
PLAYER TO WATCH
DEVILS: NICO HISCHIER. If not for a certain Mathew Barzal, Hischier would be getting a lot more attention as the best rookie in the Metropolitan area. But as it is, Nico is the one who will likely get a chance to shine in the playoffs. And it’s been well documented that legacies are made in the postseason.
RANGERS: FILIP CHYTIL. The Rangers 18-year-old wunderkind has two points in four games since been recalled from Hartford. But he has been a force every time he’s on the ice. And with a little more puck luck, he’d have a few more goals. As far as the Blueshirts are concerned, Chytil is fast proving he belongs in the NHL.
The Rangers had plenty of injuries this season. And now, they are ending the year with two more.
Jesper Fast is likely done for the year with a groin issue.
Mats Zuccarello has been sent for an MRI for an undisclosed injury and is likely out for the game in New Jersey.
Henrik Lundqvist gets the start.
Otherwise, all lineup decisions will be made during pregame warmups.
WHERE TO WATCH
The game will be broadcast on MSG 2 at 7 pm ET. For in-game coverage check out our Twitter account@NYRBlueBulletin.
It’s been quite awhile since the Rangers were in a position to play spoiler to one of their fiercest rivals.
And with the Blueshirts playing for pride, it will be a heated affair.