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Game Preview #75: New Jersey Devils vs. New York Rangers

The Devils face Our Hated Rivals for the last time this regular season at the Rock, a preview of their probable first round matchup. Learn more about the matchup in this article.

New York Rangers v New Jersey Devils Photo by Rich Graessle/NHLI via Getty Images

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (46-20-8) versus the New York Rangers (44-20-10). Opposition Blog: Blueshirt Banter

The Time: 7:00 PM

The Broadcast: TV - MSG, MSG2, MSGSN

The Last Devils Game

The last Devils game was a 5-1 loss to the Islanders, who are fighting to make the playoffs. Chris recapped it here.

The Devils only scored one goal, Erik Haula on a shorthanded breakaway. It was a better game for former Devils than current Devils. Kyle Palmieri had 2 goals and an assist and Zach Parise had an empty-net goal. Shots were actually pretty even, 34 to 31, and the Devils won the xG battle. However, spotty defense, inability to finish, and Ilya Sorokin being Ilya Sorokin was what lost them the game.

The Last Rangers Game

A 6-2 win over Columbus. 5 Rangers had 2 points and Shesterkin made 28 saves on 30 shots. It is, however, Columbus. More important than this game is that the Rangers are 8-1-1 in their last 10. They’re on a roll and looking to pass the Devils in the standings. A Rangers regulation win would have both teams tied at 75 games played and 100 points. Playing Carolina twice was the toughest part of that schedule, where they went 1-1, so they certainly aren’t unstoppable, but they do have momentum while the Devils have been limping a bit. The Devils need to shut them down and get themselves going if they want to keep home ice advantage in a potential 2-3 seed matchup against these Rangers.

The Last Devils-Rangers Game

The last Devils-Rangers game was a great one. The Rangers had a 3-1 lead after 2 periods. The Devils tied it in the 3rd with goals from Hughes and Bratt, and Severson won it in OT.

Shots were 43-34 in favor of the Devils in that game. Hughes had 2-1-3, the best player of the night.

By the way, that game was before both teams loaded up at the deadline. The Rangers acquired Patrick Kane from Chicago and Vladimir Tarasenko from St. Louis. The Devils went for the player on the trading block best supporting by analytics, Timo Meier from San Jose. Since the trades, Kane has 5-4-9 in 13 GP, Tarasenko has 6-9-15 in 23 GP, and Meier has 4-2-6 in 13 GP.

How are the Rangers doing?

They are doing well. If you’ve been paying attention, they’ve been a little bit behind us in the standings for most of the year. With the Rangers going 8-1-1 in their last 10 and the Devils going 4-4-2, they’ve almost caught up. They sit at 98 points, just a win behind, with the same amount of games played. This game is effectively worth 4 points in the race for home ice advantage in the first round series between the teams. They’ve also surpassed the Devils in goal differential, +53 compared to +51.

They have actually been a bit below average at 5v5 offense by xGF/60. Their defense has been their strong suit. They are 4th in penalty minutes and are 8th in save percentage.

Your Thoughts

With just 7 games left in the season, the Devils, Hurricanes, and Rangers are all still capable of placing anywhere from 1-3 in the metro division. This could be a preview of a 2-3 matchup between these teams if things hold the way they are now. Hudson River Rivalry games are always good and this one could have home ice advantage hanging in the balance. What do you think will happen in tonight’s game? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and thank you for reading.