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Game Preview: Devils vs. Rangers

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The conclusion of the Devils - Rangers season series.... Let’s please not get swept.

NHL: New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils
Bad memories.
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The finale of the Rangers and Devils season matchup, with the Devils having lost ALL the other games.

The Matchup: The New York Rangers (45-24-3 SBNation; Blueshirt Banter) at the New Jersey Devils (26-33-12)

The Time: 7:00 PM EST

The Broadcast: TV – MSG+; Radio - WFAN 660 AM and 101.9 FM

The Last Devils Game: The Devils fell to the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 in a very strange game. The Blue Jackets got two penalty shots, one for Lukas Sedlak and one for Brandon Dubinsky, and got goals from both forwards. Boone Jenner also scored on a shorthanded and empty net goal to account for the four Columbus goals. The lone Devils goal was scored by Adam Henrique. Cory Schneider made 23 saves on 24 shots not including penalty shots, but Sergei Bobrovsky made 35 saves on 36 shots. John’s recap can be read here.

The Last Rangers Game: The Rangers beat the Wild 3-2 on Saturday. Beth Boyle Machlan wrote a recap here. So apparently, the Wild actually outplayed the Rangers, but still lost. Anyway, the Ranger goals were scored by Brady Skjei, Oscar Lindberg and Jimmy Vesey. The Wild goals were scored by a resurgent Eric Staal and Matt Dumba. Antii Raanta made 25 stops on 27 shots, while Devan Dubnyk saved 27 of 30. This win puts New York at 93 points, which only puts them 4th in a very stacked Metropolitan division. This puts them in a wild card spot, which is weird given the overall point values, but oh well.

Recent Transactions: Not a transaction, but Miles Wood has been skating the past few days, so we may thankfully see him back on the ice. The kid provides energy unseen in most other Devils players.

Lundqvist may play.

Other than that, there were no transactions for either team, which means expect the same lineup for both teams as previous games.

The Goal: The same as the past few games, except win! The Devils have been playing well the past few games, although their record DEFINITELY doesn’t show that. If they can play like they did against Columbus, without bad luck striking, they should be able to beat the Rangers team.

If the Devils get Miles Wood back, his speed will be invaluable against a quality Rangers hockey team. If not, they should still try to play a fast-paced game, and get shots on net.

I only ask that we not get swept by the Rangers, please hockey gods.

The Top Rangers: JT Miller leads the Rangers in points, with 52 on the year. he has 20 goals. Zuccarello follows up, with 51 points and 14 goals. Michael Grabner leads the team in goals, with 27. Meanwhile, defenseman Ryan McDonagh, Brady Skjei and Nick Holden all have over 30 points for this Rangers team, mostly assists, showing that their defense is good at distributing the puck

New acquisition Brendan Smith is playing top line minutes with his new team, but has only 2 assists on his name. Hopefully, his cold streak continues against the Devils.

Goaltenders: I expect Schneider to start for the Devils. For the Rangers, hopefully Raanta. Even though his numbers are better than King Lundqvist this year, I’m honestly still more afraid of Lundqvist as a goaltender than I ever will be of Raanta.

So... What are your thoughts regarding this game? Is this the one game a Devils fan can’t accept a loss in? Do you think we have a good chance of winning this game? Let me know what you guys think in the comments below, and take care.