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Game 54: Devils vs. Rangers

Since I'll be at this one, this has been written in advance. If you're going to the game, be loud and be proud of supporting the Devils. And please don't react to foolish antics of foolish Ranger fans who may or may not want to have some action of their own. Remember, we support the better team, let's be better supporters.

The Devils didn't have practice on Sunday, according to Gulitti. So it'll be a game-day decision for who will be in net. The Devils lost to LA on Saturday and it wasn't good, but Scott Clemmensen wasn't bad. Kevin Weekes did look good in Atlanta in a win on Friday. I think Clemmensen will probably be the starter as he's been the go-to guy more often. I expect the line-up to be the same as it was on Saturday, as Colin White remains day-to-day with a sore hand (via Gulitti).

Regardless of who is in net, the Rangers are in a zone I can't figure out. OK, I can figure out that goal scoring has been an issue as they've scored a total of 135 goals all season. As a point of comparison, the Devils have given up 134 all season. I wouldn't expect the Rangers to turn into goal scoring machines on Monday night.

No, it has more to do with what to expect out of the team. They should be up for this one. They lost to the Devils 8-5 the last time they visited Newark. They lost to the Devils the last time they played, which was at MSG. It's a rivalry, surely they'd want to avenge their losses! The Rangers just lost their last game to Dallas 10-2. A meltdown of epic proportions. Surely, they will look to play hard after a bad loss, right? Yet, that loss came after, well, a bad loss, 2-1 in a shootout against Atlanta at home after retiring Adam Graves' number. And going into that one, they lost two straight to Pittsburgh and to Boston. Will this game get the Rangers fired up to put on a decent performance? Or will they continue to sulk and get beaten in various ways? I couldn't tell you, really.

I know we'd like the latter, but I wouldn't bet on it. I really hope Sutter has reminded the Devils of the source of a good number of their recent woes: Stupid penalties. If they can cut back on those (e.g. keep your sticks and arms down, think before acting, Mr. Holik), that's less pressure on the goalie, less pressure on the PK units, and it allows the game to remain where the Devils remain strong: even-strength. Coupled with that, I hope the Devils do a much better job in passing the puck both on their breakout and in the offensive zone. That will lead to more and improved puck possession, better attacks at the net, and, well, more goals.

I'd also like to point out that scoring first on the Rangers would be massive, and not just because the Devils win 82.8% of the games when they do. The Rangers are hurting and scoring first would go a long way in establishing that tonight will be no different from the last few games. What's more, the Devils really should press hard and score the first few goals - to really pour it on our rivals. I wouldn't expect them to make a 4 goal comeback like the last game at the Rock; the Devils should force the Rangers to try to repeat that feat again.

Above all, the goal is to see a Devils win. Feel free to comment about how you feel about the Rangers in this post. Feel free to discuss the game in this thread right here. Please keep it clean, keep it relevant, and Go Devils.