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Game Preview: New Jersey Devils versus the New York Rangers

With two injuries on defense, the Devils will attempt to beat Our Hated Rivals.

NHL: New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils
Guess who’s getting more time tonight.
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The Matchup: New Jersey Devils versus the New York Rangers. SBN Blog: Blueshirt Banter

The Time: 7:00 PM

The Broadcast: TV - MSG

Let’s Win a Game: The Devils are playing Our Hated Rivals tonight, and coming off a very good performance against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Devils should feel good about themselves coming into tonight. The New York Rangers are four points ahead of the Devils in the standings - and the Devils cannot move out of last place with a win tonight - but it would be another step towards respectability to get a win tonight.

Vatanen: The Devils will be without one of their better defensemen tonight. Sami Vatanen, after taking a hit that was both somewhat high and from behind from Derick Brassard, will be out tonight with a concussion. Vatanen originally only needed stitches for the hit, as it caused his visor to gash his forehead. However, in the days following the game, Vatanen showed worsening symptoms and was diagnosed with a concussion. WIth Ben Lovejoy on IR already, the Devils are down two right-handed defensemen.

With Said Injuries…: This is what the Devils’ practice lines looked like yesterday.

The Devils will be attempting to roll Mirco Mueller on the second pairing with Will Butcher, which isn’t the worst pairing imaginable, but it will be defensively interesting. I’m not sure what situations Egor Yakovlev and Steven Santini will be used in, as John Hynes doesn’t like to trust either with very important minutes. In all likelihood, we will be seeing Andy Greene and Damon Severson get 25 minutes tonight.

The Goaltenders: Keith Kinkaid will be starting for the New Jersey Devils tonight. After last game, I can’t be too displeased with that decision. I would have loved to see MacKenzie Blackwood in person, but Kinkaid was sharp against Pittsburgh.

So, MacKenzie Blackwood will be backing up tonight, and Cam Johnson has been returned to Binghamton. I wonder if this means that Cory Schneider won’t be getting the backup role immediately after his conditioning stint ends in the AHL. He certainly has shown some rust, but the Devils are not in the best situation with their three goaltenders. And this is just speculation, but Kinkaid might be getting this second start in a row to see if he can impress scouts of other teams.

Trade Last Night: Speaking of scouts and trades, the Devils acquired Ryan Murphy from the Wild last night. Since the Devils only have six defensemen healthy at the moment, I would think that the Devils should have him with the NHL squad, rather than have him report to Binghamton. When Hynes is playing Yakovlev, Santini, and Mueller - it would be good to have some more NHL experience with the club. But, that’s just me.

Your Take: What do you think about tonight’s game? Do you think the Devils will win? Do you want the Devils to win? Who are you looking to most tonight? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.