New York Rangers (37-29-4, 3rd in the Metropolitan Division) versus New Jersey Devils (30-27-13, 6th in the Metropolitan Division)
Puck Drop: Saturday, March 22 at 7:00 pm EST
Venue: Prudential Center- Newark, NJ
There is no rest for the weary as the New York Rangers are back on the ice. Tonight, they face one of their bitter rivals, the New Jersey Devils. If you thought last night’s game had a playoff-like atmosphere, then best hold onto your seat. The “Battle of the Hudson” resumes tonight with another crucial two points on the line.
The Rangers are 5-4-1 in their last 10 games. On their current road trip, they are 2-0 with a two game win streak. This will be the fifth and final game of the regular season between the two teams. In the previous four meetings, the Rangers have lost three games. In their last meeting, the Rangers won the Stadium Series at the new Yankee Stadium. The final score was 7-3.
Heading into tonight’s game, the team is starting to play like a group on a mission. The third line is starting to regain the scoring form they had before the month of March. Derick Brassard is playing like a man possessed, with three goals and four points in the past two games. Mats Zuccarello has four points in the same amount of games and leads the Rangers in points with 49. Finally, Derek Stepan is “stepping up” his game, having scored three goals and four points since March 13. He is one point behind Zuccarello for the team lead. Carl Hagelin is making a statement for himself by having four goals and five points in his last five games.
However, the Rangers did suffer an injury in Columbus. Defenseman John Moore was hurt on a play in the first period and is listed as questionable for tonight’s game. Possible replacements are Justin Falk or Raphael Diaz. Diaz was acquired in a trade from the Vancouver Canucks for a fifth round draft pick in 2015.
The starting goalie has not been announced yet. It is the second of back to back games. In a normal situation, both goalies would alternate. However, tonight’s game has playoff implications. Also, this is a rivalry game that both teams don’t want to lose. Expect Henrik Lundqvist to be in net tonight.
Tonight, the Rangers will need to carry over their play from the past two games. During this road trip, we have seen the Rangers “never quit” attitude. Despite giving up the first goal in each game, they have battled back. Also, it is reassuring that the team is sticking up for one another. Emotion is starting to take over and it is showing with their play on the ice. Case in point, last night’s game. You could see the fire illuminate from the team as the goals were scored and the after-whistle scrums ensued. Unlikely combatants started answering the bell. More of this play is going to be needed as the regular season wines down. For tonight’s game, no bulletin board or newspaper headlines are needed. It is the New York Rangers versus the New Jersey Devils, what more could you ask for?