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Game 26: Devils vs. NY Rangers

First, some background. I hate the Rangers. Most, if not all, Devils fans do. It's not like I want to hurt anyone or belittle anybody outside of supporting the Rangers. But I hate the Rangers and I strongly believe the best possible outcome is something like a 9-2 beatdown in favor of the home team, kind of like what the Penguins did to the Islanders on Thursday. Though I realize the likelihood of that happening between a team that set the standard for defensive, counter-attacking hockey with a great goaltender and a team that has found success copying the first team is incredibly low. I still have a little hope for it and I'm sure most Devils fans would like to see that happen.

That all said, I'm not going to let this game define how the Devils are doing recently. They won their last 3 games against 3 tough opponents in Philadelphia, Montreal, and Pittsburgh. They did it in overtime and on the road in the first two cases, and they did it decisively at home in the most recent game while keeping the big stars relatively quiet. The Devils are doing very well and even a loss to the Rangers can't change that fact.

Regardless, I am feeling good about the Devils' chances for numerous reasons stated in this post. Per Gulitti, you get an idea that the roster is going to remain largely unchanged. Expect Scott Clemmensen to get the start, as Gulitti learns from him that he is excited about the game. Expect Bryce Salvador to be back on defense and still without a visor. At least, that's what I'm interpreting from Gulitti:

Despite the close call, Salvador did not wear a protective visor in practice today and has no plans to wear one against the Rangers Friday night.

Yeah. The only change to the line up is Mike Rupp is back for the Devils, according to Gulitti. Pierre-Luc Latourneau-Leblond has been sent down to Lowell and now the fourth line is looking like a big unit of David Clarkson, Bobby Holik, and Rupp. Needless to say, Rupp is pleased by this development. Woe be to the Rangers on the ice for the 6-8 minutes these guys will be on.

It's time for one hockey's biggest rivalries and it'll be at The Rock tonight. I'll be there, likely surrounded by Rangers fans who will not make any noise until their team is winning - and then they'll act like they were a part of it or something. I hate the Rangers and I hope the Devils smack them in the mouth with a big game. Please make your comments here both before, after, and during. Just remember to keep it clean, keep it relevant, and keep it Jersey. Especially tonight.