Rangers to Dance with Red Hot Devils. By Steve Palumbo
The New Jersey Devils (18-13-1) have played 32 games this season and oddly enough they haven’t faced their Hudson River rivals, the New York Rangers (18-8-4). That all changes tonight as the Rangers head into the Prudential Center to face the red hot Devils.
The Devils and Rangers are a stones throw away from each other so it’s not surprising this is the longest the clubs have gone from the start of the season without facing each other. Before tonight, the longest stretch had been 23 games. In fact, in 20 of the last 28 seasons New Jersey and New York had met at least once in their first 10 games.
New Jersey is aiming to keep their current four game winning streak alive at the expense of the hated Rangers. The Devils are currently sixth in the Eastern Conference playoff race and trail both New York and the Pittsburgh Penguins by three points in the standings. A win tonight closes the gap to just one point and puts distance between themselves and the rest of the pack.
Martin Brodeur (8-8-0 3.08 GAA .886 SV%) will face Henrik Lundqvist (12-7-4 2.07 GAA .932 SV%) in net.
The Devils will be without the services of defenseman Henrik Tallinder and center Patirk Elias. Tallinder is still suffering from back spasms. Elias, who became the teams all-time leading goal scorer in Saturdays 5-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens is out ill.
The Rangers are a bit banged up especially on defense and will not have Steve Eminger (shoulder), Michael Sauer (concussion), Mark Staal (post-concussion symptoms), Wojtek Wolski (sports hernia surgery) and potentially Jeff Woywitka (ankle, illness).
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