The New York Rangers’ recent struggles at Madison Square Garden
can be traced to last month’s meeting with the New Jersey
Henrik Lundqvist and Rick Nash could be key to avenging that
The stars look to get the Rangers untracked at home while
helping them avoid a third straight defeat to the Devils for the
first time in almost five years Saturday night.
New York (15-14-0) has dropped four of five at MSG, starting
with a 3-2 loss to the Devils (11-13-6) on Nov. 12. Prior to that,
the Rangers had won four of their first six as host, giving up an
average of 1.5 goals compared to 2.6 over the past five
Defensive issues plagued them at New Jersey on Oct. 19, falling
4-0 and a similar effort could send New York on its first
three-game regular-season slide in the series since Dec. 12,
2008-Feb. 9, 2009.
Lundqvist and Nash will try to help the Rangers avoid such a
fate after both were pivotal to Thursday’s 3-1 win at Buffalo.
Lundqvist made 27 saves one day after becoming the highest paid
goaltender in the NHL by signing a seven-year, $59.5 million
“He’s an elite goaltender that comes up big at the right time
and certainly helped us win,” first-year coach Alain Vigneault
Nash did his part by scoring a highlight reel goal, giving him
four goals and two assists in five games. The superstar left wing
had one in four games after returning from a concussion that
sidelined him for 17, including both with New Jersey.
He had three goals in four meetings with the Devils last season,
netting a pair in a 4-0 home win April 27.
Lundqvist made 20 saves in that matchup, but has allowed seven
goals on 47 shots in two this season. Still, he’s 17-5-2 with a
1.39 goals-against average and six shutouts in 24 career
regular-season home games in the Hudson River rivalry.
The 2012 Vezina Trophy winner will likely get the starting nod
again, and he may not be very busy after the Devils tied a
franchise low with 11 shots while losing 3-1 at home to Detroit on
Coach Peter DeBoer, however, is more concerned about the quality
of the shots than the quantity.
“It’s easy to look at the shot clock and say that (11 shots on
goal is not enough),” he said. “We’ve generated 21 shots and
generated the same amount of scoring chances. (If the shot clock
says) 21, you feel better about it? It doesn’t matter.”
New Jersey is 2-5-1 over its past eight games, and could use
some production from Jaromir Jagr.
The 41-year-old future Hall of Famer and ex-Ranger leads the
team with 11 goals and 22 points, but has been kept off the
scoresheet for four straight games. He has three assists versus the
Rangers this season after failing to get a point in his last
Martin Brodeur, another 41-year-old destined for the Hall of
Fame, is expected to be in net after being rested for Cory
Schneider, who made 18 saves Friday.
Brodeur, though, has lost four straight starts behind a 2.82
GAA. However, he had 33 saves while winning the most recent visit
to the Garden, giving him a 5-1 record and 2.18 GAA in his last six
overall meetings with the Rangers, including the playoffs.
It’s unclear if Damien Brunner will be available after he was a
healthy scratch against the Red Wings. The right wing hasn’t scored
in 16 games, and has four goals in 26 contests after signing a
two-year, $2.5 million free-agent contract.