The New York Rangers must shake off the memory of Wednesday’s dramatic win over the Blues and be ready when an energized Devils team comes to the Garden. While the Devils are mired in seventh place in the Metropolitan Divsion and are 24 points out of a playoff spot, they are not to be taken lightly.
You want to see a yoyo in action, watch the Devils. Their inconsistency is amazing. Here are the scores of their February schedule:
- Feb. 1: 7-1 loss to Toronto
- Feb. 7: 4-1 loss to Ottawa
- Feb. 8: 7-1 win over Montreal
- Feb. 10: 7-4 win over St. Louis
- Feb. 13: 4-2 loss to Pittsburgh
- Feb. 15: 6-3 loss to Tampa
- Feb. 24: 6-1 win over Pittsburgh
- Feb. 25: 8-5 loss to Chicago
They won three games, outscoring the opposition 20-6. The lost five games, being outscored 29-12. That’s the definition of inconsistency.
They are coming off a 4-3 loss to Columbus on Tuesday, but their ability to explode offensively is scary. Leading the way is Jack Hughes who is having a fabulous season. Limited to 34 games by injury, he has 17 goals and 39 points and he has become the first overall pick everyone thought he was back in 2019. Dougie Hamilton is also back from a broken jaw.
The big challenge for the Devils has been in net where they have used six netminders this season. Number one starter MacKenzie Blackwood is on Injured Reserve and it looks like rookie Nico Daws will be facing the Blueshirts. The German born goalie has had five NHL starts and was impressive back-to-back wins over Pittsburgh and Vancouver, not so good in losses to Ottawa and Columbus.
The Rangers have their own issues with Kevin Rooney added to the Injured Reserve list with an upper body injury that is expected to keep him out for a few weeks. He didn’t play after the first period and in looking at his last few shifts in the first period he didn’t seem to be showing signs of an obvious injury.
Jonny Brodzinski and Tim Gettinger have been calledup from Hartford and it appears that those two along with Morgan Barron will be rotating into the starting lineup. The early word is that it will be Brodzinski on the fourth line with Greg McKegg and Ryan Reaves.
Igor Shesterkin has a career record of 5-2 against the Devils including back-to-back shutouts last season. He won his last three starts against the Devils, allowing only three goals in the three games.
This is the second meeting this season between the two teams. The Rangers won 4-3 on November 14 in a shootout behind Alexandar Georgiev. The Rangers blew a third period lead, allowing the Devils to tie the score with only 2:44 left on a goal by Pavel Zacha.
This will be the first game against the Devils since the slew foot by P.K. Subban ended the season for Sammy Blais. We’ll see if the Rangers have a long memory. Don’t forget the fact that Ryan Reaves was injured in a similar play in the preseason.
Projected starting lineups
Jonny Brodzinski will be in at center on the fourth line. He’s played 10 games for the Rangers over two seasons with one goal. With 18 goals in 36 games for Hartford, the hope is he can bring some offensive spark to the bottom six.
NEW YORK RANGERS
20 Kreider– 93 Zibanejad –13 Lafrenière
10 Panarin– 16 Strome – 29 Hunt
21 Goodrow – 72 Chytil – 15 Gauthier
14 McKegg – 76 Brodzinski- 75 Reaves
55 Lindgren – 23 Fox
79 Miller – 8 Trouba
12 Nemeth – 45 Schneider
NEW JERSEY DEVILS
17 Yegor Sharangovich – 86 Jack Hughes – 18 Dawson Mercer
37 Pavel Zacha – 13 Nico Hischier – 63 Jesper Bratt
11 Andreas Johnsson – 70 Jesper Boqvist – 90 Tomas Tatar
16 Jimmy Vesey – 20 Michael McLeod – 14 Nathan Bastian
71 Jonas Siegenthaler – 7 Dougie Hamilton
33 Ryan Graves– 28 Damon Severson
2 Colton White– 76 P.K. Subban
50 Nico Daws
32 Jon Gillies
The Devils’ leading scorer is Jesper Bratt who has 19 goals and 50 points in 49 games. Dawson Mercer is having an outstanding rookie season while defenseman Ty Smith is suffering through the sophomore jinx.
The Devils have used 37 different players this season compared to only 27 for the Rangers.
How to watch and the live conversation
The game is scheduled for 7pm and will be on the MSG Network (thank goodness). The national live stream is on ESPN+ and the radiocast will be on ESPN 98.7 FM.
The live conversation is up and live now so you can comment on the game, the trade deadline, and hopefully take some potshots at the Rangers’ crossriver rivals. The Devils always give the Rangers trouble and it will be interesting to see which Devils team shows up for this game, the defensive sieve or the offensive powerhouse.
Join the conversation in the comments section below.