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Game Preview #28: New Jersey Devils at New York Rangers

The Devils look to crush their division rival after the Rangers have won three in a row.

New Jersey Devils v New York Rangers
Get Hughes’d
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (21-5-1; Last 10: 7-2-1) at the New York Rangers (14-10-5; Last 10: 5-4-1) SBN Blog: Blueshirt Banter

The Time: 7:00 PM ET

The Broadcast: TV - MSGSN

Wood You Look At That

Any Devils fan who saw the team’s disappointing loss to the Islanders probably did not expect Miles Wood to come away from his collision with Alexander Romanov without a concussion. Wood had left the ice with blood coming from both nostrils and did not return to the game, but said that he passed concussion protocols during the game and the following day. This is essential for the Devils, as Miles Wood already plays a tough and physical game - and it would be very difficult to lose him for any reason. Especially with Nathan Bastian out indefinitely for his shoulder injury, the team needs Wood’s physicality and leadership.

Back to Form

Friday night’s game was a rarity for this season. Before then, the Devils had not given up five or more goals since October - with five on their opening night against Philadelphia and six against in their first matchup with Washington on October 24. If it takes a month and a half between every reasonably insurmountable defensive stinker, then the Devils should have nothing to worry about. But the other half of that is continuing to not give up many goals against opponents.

Tonight, when they face the Rangers, they will have to keep an eye out for the usual suspects - Artemi Panarin, Adam Fox, Mika Zibanejad, and Chris Kreider. Vincent Trocheck, Filip Chytil, and Barclay Goodrow provide some secondary scoring, but the Rangers have largely been disappointed by the performances of young players such as Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko, who are on track for 37 and 25 points, respectively. I believe this type of matchup works excellently with the way the Devils are constructed. Instead of worrying about how to split their matchups, they should have no problem getting either Jonas Siegenthaler or John Marino out onto the ice against the Rangers’ few offensive threats.

The Goal for Tonight

I would like to see the Devils strike first tonight. After the slew of slow starts in late November and the bad game on Friday, they need to come out of the tunnel hot tonight. I wonder if Andreas Johnsson will make his debut tonight in place of Alex Holtz, who played rather poorly on Friday - but in general I think this team could use a fresh jolt from someone that has not been playing. Johnsson could allow Zetterlund to move off the McLeod line to a place he is more comfortable - whether that be with Sharangovich and Boqvist or with Nico Hischier’s line. However, I won’t be harping on this much if Ruff decides to use the same lineup.

Your Thoughts

What do you think of tonight’s game? Are you excited to face the Rangers again? Is anyone going to the Garden? What will the final score be tonight? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and thanks for reading.