The Devils lost their game last night in an frustrating fashion. It not only added a second straight Devils loss, but a second straight game wherein the Devils did not score.
The Rangers didn't play last night, but their last game before the break was a loss in overtime to Washington. In a way, it's worse than the Devils' recent fortunes, as the Rangers blew a 4 goal lead in regulation only for the Capitals to land a knockout punch to stunned Rangers team in extra time.
"I think it's a big thing," right wing David Clarkson said of facing the Rangers on Saturday. "You play against a team that's just across the river there and we'd love to go out and just play the same way we're playing, but bear down a little bit more. The last time we played them, we won and we have to continue on like that."
I expect the Devils' line-up will remain unchanged. From Gulitti, we learn that Bryce Salvador's upper-body injury to the head was...an inner-ear infection. Well, there we are. He's still not playing tonight, and given how strong the defense was in the last two games, I don't see why the Devils can't continue to do well in their own end. The problem, as it has been for seemingly the last 15 years, is finishing. We need to see big games from Patrik Elias, Brian Gionta, travis Zajac, and Zach Parise. Especially Zach. I'm reminded of a turn of a phrase I heard Christopher Walken's character in Wedding Crashers: Where's Zach? We fail without him! It's not that dire, but Parise has to turn more of that hustle into shots and plays than he did last night. If tthe Devils' forwards can get into Henrik Lundqvist's head and make the Rangers defense look silly like the last game, then their chances to not only quell the scoring the drought improve but they'd have a great chance to make it rain all over the MSG.
Oh, the last game. The Rangers' official website has a preview of tonight's game focusing on the last Devils-Rangers game. That game was glorious in spite of it's flaws. Absolute glory. And the Rangers aren't certainly going to forget about it either. For that alone, among other rationales (mostly breaking down to "we hate the other team"), it will be a very physical and intense affair.
After the game last night, the sentiment regarding this game is quite simple: We hate the Rangers and we want to win. We want pain to be brought to MSG. We want the Blueshirt faithful to have their hearts broken by their team failing in front of them on home ice. I'll simplify it further. I want a win regardless of how the play went. I don't care if it's 1-0 won by a fluke goal from, say, Mike Rupp. I don't care if it's a dominating 3-0 win. I don't care if it's a 7-2 rout. I don't care if it's a shootout win after both teams score 12 goals. I want the Devils to beat the Rangers. The rest are details at this juncture.
Feel free to comment before, during, and after the game. Keep it clean, keep it relevant, and keep it Jersey.