The New York Rangers might get Ryan McDonagh back during their three-game trip, but that return likely won't come Tuesday night.
The Rangers have succeeded lately with their captain on the sidelines for most of their recent games, and they'll try to keep heading in the right direction against the slumping New Jersey Devils.
McDonagh sat out for the fifth time in seven games Sunday, but the Rangers improved to 7-1-1 in their last nine with a 1-0 overtime victory against Detroit.
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“We're resilient,” said defenseman Kevin Klein, who scored the winning goal. “When things don't go your way, you stay focused and stick to your system.”
New York (34-19-6) is 4-0-1 in the five games McDonagh has missed because of a pair of upper-body injuries. The defenseman sat out four straight contests due to a concussion and was forced to leave a 4-2 win in Toronto on Thursday when the Maple Leafs' Leo Komarov elbowed him in the head.
McDonagh exited that collision with a bruised jaw and neck spasms.
“It's progressing and getting better every day,” McDonagh told the team's official website after skating on his own Monday. “I've been continuing to feel like myself more and more. Hopefully it continues here and I can get back soon.”
McDonagh's timetable for returning is unclear. His teammates will try to kick that off New York's trek by earning a season-high fourth consecutive road victory.
The Rangers will face a team that's been outscored 11-6 in a three-game slide, and the Devils (29-24-7) blew a third-period lead in a 4-3 loss in Washington on Saturday, giving up the tiebreaking goal with 3:58 remaining.
New Jersey scored three goals for just the second time in nine contests but has lost both games. It fell 6-3 to visiting Philadelphia last Tuesday to begin its current skid.
“There's nothing to be frustrated about,” coach John Hynes said. “We've got to be better than what we were.”
The Devils have won two of three from the Rangers this season, splitting a pair of contests in a six-day span earlier this month. They edged the Rangers 3-2 at home Feb. 2 to end a four-game home losing streak in the series but fell 2-1 in the rematch at Madison Square Garden six days later.
J.T. Miller scored the decisive goal in the third period and Henrik Lundqvist came with 2:18 of a shutout in New York's first win in three matchups this season. The Rangers goaltender is 4-1-0 with a 1.20 goals-against average in his last five starts and recorded his second shutout in that stretch Sunday.
Lundqvist is 3-1-1 with a 1.59 GAA in his last five games against the Devils. New Jersey netminder Cory Schneider has posted a 1.65 GAA while starting all three matchups this season.
Schneider has been charged with 10 goals in New Jersey's slide. He yielded 11 in his previous seven starts.
Devils forward Lee Stempniak has three goals and one assist in his last four games against the Rangers, but is currently mired in a season-worst five-game point drought.
Miller has scored three times in his past two matchups with New Jersey and is out to end a six-game goal drought in this one.
New Jersey hasn't lost four in a row since its 0-3-1 start.