NHL

Mon, Mar 19, 2012 - 7:30 PM ET
Game Preview
 

Devils-Rangers Preview

Share This Story

   
 

The New York Rangers were sitting comfortably atop the Eastern Conference two weeks ago, but a rough stretch has trimmed their lead to the slimmest of margins.

The slump started with a loss to the New Jersey Devils, and the Rangers will try avenge that defeat while avoiding their sixth loss in eight games Monday night at Madison Square Garden.

New York (44-20-7) owned an eight-point lead in the East on March 5, but that advantage has been cut to one point over Pittsburgh and three over Philadelphia. The top seed in the conference will almost certainly come out of the Atlantic Division, with Northeast-leading Boston having 10 fewer points than the Rangers and Southeast-leading Florida 12 off the pace.

New York is coming off a 3-1 loss to Colorado on Saturday, its second straight defeat and fifth in seven games. Another loss would give the Rangers two three-game losing streaks in March after having just one skid of that length in the first five months.

"We can't get discouraged,'' coach John Tortorella said.

The Rangers got forward Ryan Callahan, defenseman Michael Del Zotto and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist back in the lineup Saturday and outshot the Avalanche 42-20, but only Mats Zuccarello scored. It was the first goal in three games by someone other than linemates Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards and Carl Hagelin, who had netted the past seven.

Generating offense hasn't been easy lately for New York, which has totaled eight goals in its last five defeats.

"We need to score on our chances, and that's been a problem for a little bit now," Hagelin said. "It's tough to win when you score only one goal."

New York's offensive woes stem in part from a struggling power play. The Rangers failed on all five opportunities with the extra skater against the Avalanche and are 3 for 23 in their last seven games.

New York could again have trouble with the man advantage against New Jersey (41-26-5). The Devils allowed Pittsburgh to score a power-play goal in a 5-2 loss Saturday after killing off all 28 penalties in their previous 10 games.

New Jersey, eight points back of the Rangers, has lost two of three after winning four in a row. That streak started with a 4-1 victory over New York on March 6, a game in which the Devils dominated the Rangers physically.

Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias each had a goal and an assist, while Martin Brodeur stopped 25 shots to help the Devils improve to 3-2-0 in the season series.

Brodeur has been between the pipes for all five meetings and has recorded a 1.59 goals-against average with a shutout.

Lundqvist has been a bright spot for New York in his four starts in the series, going 2-2-0 with a 1.26 GAA and a shutout.

Although Brodeur has been strong against the Rangers, he and the defense had some trouble slowing down Pittsburgh on Saturday, as he faced a season-high 44 shots and stopped 39.

New Jersey wasn't nearly as prolific offensively, managing 14 shots on goal - one more than their season low.

"Out of the 60 minutes, maybe we played good for 18 minutes,'' Elias said. "The last 10-15 games here you got to get in your mind to keep playing no matter what's happening and get the same mindset for 60 minutes.

"I know we're going to bounce back."

Tagged: Devils, Rangers, Martin Brodeur, Michael Del Zotto

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



Play Hockey Simulation Game on WhatIfSports

NHL Videos

Toews, Kane: Easy decision to resign with Blackhawks Posted: Jul 17, 2014
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane say their decision to sign matching 8-year, $84M...

LA mayor 'F-bombs' Kings rally Posted: Jun 17, 2014
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti toasts the Stanley Cup champion Kings in front o...

Kings, fans celebrate Stanley Cup Posted: Jun 16, 2014
Kings players celebrate winning the Stanley Cup with a parade through downtown L...

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Pittsburgh_Penguins/browse/featuredproduct/175178/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_175000/FF_175178_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black
    Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Dallas_Stars/browse/featuredproduct/243363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_243000/FF_243363_xl.jpg&w=100 124.95 Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey
    Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Tampa_Bay_Lightning/browse/featuredproduct/301017/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_301000/ff_301017_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Anaheim_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/398322/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_398000/FF_398322_xl.jpg&w=100 43.99 Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Red_Wings/browse/featuredproduct/403205/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_403000/FF_403205_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack
    Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Chicago_Blackhawks/browse/featuredproduct/408123/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_408000/FF_408123_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey
    Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_Jersey_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/456774/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_456000/ff_456774_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Vancouver_Canucks/browse/featuredproduct/665779/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_665000/ff_665779_xl.jpg&w=100 11.95 Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick
    Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Islanders/browse/featuredproduct/752594/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_752000/ff_752594_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt