The New Jersey Devils host the New York Rangers in a rivalry game that has been ramped up with the looming playoffs in the distance. Entering the contest, the Devils are 30-27-13 and stand sixth in the Metropolitan Division. They are five points from the final wild Card spot in the Eastern conference. For their last 10 games , they are playing .500 hockey with a 5-5-0 record. They are 17-9-7 when playing host. For the Devils, each of their remaining 12 regular season games are must-wins. Fortunately, eight of these games are at home.
New Jersey is led by their veterans. The face of the franchise, Martin Brodeur, is expected to be in net tonight. He is 49-31-15 with nine shutouts against the Rangers. However, in their last matchup in January, Broduer lost 7-3. In that game, he was chased out of the crease after the 2nd period. The eventual Hall of Famer has not an easy season, as Cory Schneider has filled in and is more than ready to take over the reigns, once the larger than life Broduer retires.
Offensively, the Devils are led by the ageless wonder, Jaromir Jagr. Through 70 games this season, he has 23 goals, 37 assists, with a +13 differential. This makes him the team leader in all three categories. In his past five games, he has three goals and five points. At age 42, Jagr still possesses the offensive tools that made him a dominant forward early in his career. He may have lost a step, but he is still a threat that teams must account for. Second in team scoring is Patrik Elias, despite his injury plagued season. Through 55 games, he has 16 goals for 48 points. Currently, he has the hot hand scoring 15 points in 11 games. In his past five games, he has two goals and five points, three of which came on March 20th against the Minnesota Wild. Other offensive notables to watch for are Adam Henrique, Travis Zajac, and Michael Ryder.
On defense, the team is led by former Rangers draft pick Marek Zidlicky. Currently, he leads all Devils defensemen with 10 goals, 26 assists, and 36 points. Behind him are Andy Greene with 31 points and Eric Gelinas with 27 points.
Not much needs to be said about this matchup against the Rangers. In an interview with NHL.com, Brodeur described tonight’s game and the rest of the season, “This one’s an important one, I guess, with the way the standings are shaping up to be…For us it’s the same story, must-win games from here on out.”