Alright here it is the matchup we’ve all been waiting for. It’s the New York Rangers taking on the New Jersey Devils. The Rangers (18-8-4 40 points) go into this game with a bit of confidence having stopped their two game skid on saturday with a buzzer beating win against the Coyotes. The Devils (18-13-1 37 points) are on their hottest streak of the year having won their past four straight games.
Both teams are looking for a big two points in this first matchup between each other. From a historical standpoint the two teams have met 209 times while the Rangers own a 98-84-27 record against New Jersey. Rangers also are 4-1 in the playoff series meetings. It’s always fun to watch these two teams play and they both always manage to play their best against each other.
To go study up on the Devils head over to Pucks And Pitchforks
For the keys to the game and more read the follow up page.
**UPDATE 5:53 PM**
Rookie Stu Bickel, not to be confused with Stu Pickels, will be making his Rangers debut tonight, replacing the injured Steve Eminger. Jeff Woywitka (foot) is a game-time decision but looks to play. If he’s not good to go, rookie Tim Erixon – recently called up from the Whale – will play in his spot. Artem Anisimov, who sat out Saturday’s game in Phoenix with an illness, is 100% healthy and back in the lineup.
Scratches: Steve Eminger (Shoulder), Wojtek Wolski (Groin), Michael Sauer (Concussion), Marc Staal (Concussion). Sean Avery and Erik Christensen are healthy scratches.
Keys To The Game:
- Get A Cycle Going- Rangers of late have not been able to control the puck that well in opposition zone. But, when they do control the play they are as good as anyone in the league. Rangers haven’t scored a lot of late, but cycling the puck leads to good opportunities.
- Hit The Net- I don’t wanna name names here but (cough, cough Dubi and Boyle) some people have been able to get shots and goal and at time shoot 20 ft wide. It’s pretty important (not to mention relatively easy most of the time) to hit the 4×6 opening. Because even if they don’t score generating rebounds and second chance opportunities lead to good scoring chances.
- Don’t Get Stuck In The Zone- With the big guys out like Staal, Sauer, and now Eminger it’s very important the Rangers can clear the zone. The above mentioned guys used to do all the big physical work to get the puck out of the zone or let the goalie freeze the puck. The Rangers can get clobbered if they are unable to get their normal line changes. Even if the Rangers have to ice the puck, it’s better than giving the Devils a chance to set up in the Rangers end.
- Tonight’s difference maker for the Rangers? Henrik Lundqvist- He always manages to step his game up when the Rangers play the Devils and with the big name defenseman he’s going to have to on his game tonight for the Rangers to win.