New Jersey Devils at New York Rangers: Game Preview #31

Paul Bereswill

The Devils are right back at it after a disappointing game last night. They face the Rangers for the third time this season in what could be Brodeur's last game at Madison Square Garden.

The Time: 7:30 PM EST

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

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (11-13-6) at the New York Rangers 15-14-0; SBN Blog: Blueshirt Banter)

The Last Devils Game: Last night was quite possibly the worst game of the season for the Devils so far. They fell to the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 with a disappointing 10 shot effort. Cory Schneider was in net and saw a lot of what he's been seeing this year - no offensive support. What was unusual was seeing the Devils outshot by a wide margin. To read the full recap and vent about the game, check out John's write-up here.

The Last Rangers Game: The Rangers played the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday and won 3-1. It wasn't a pretty win, but New York got goals from Rick Nash, Brad Richards, and Mats Zuccarello. Henrik Lundqvist was in net and made saves on 27 of the 28 shots he saw in the first game after signing his monster contract to stay in NYC. You can read the full recap from Joe Fortunato at Blueshirt Banter here.

The Goal: The Devils will be facing a rested Rangers team at the beginning of a nine-game home stand at MSG. New Jersey should have energy since they didn't show much of it last night. Hopefully they'll come to play after such a disappointing showing at the Rock against Ludqvist (presumably) and company.

Goals? Like the Devils, the Rangers have trouble scoring. They have scored just one more goal than New Jersey so far this season and both teams have a -7 goal differential. Each team has also received solid goaltending from both goalies on the roster as the season has progressed. The top players to watch out for from the Rangers are Brad Richards, Derek Stepan, Rick Nash, and rookie (?) Chris Kreider.

Shoot the Puck: Ten shots on goal will not win you many games. I don't imagine another effort like that for the second night in a row, but they need to shoot a lot more against their bitter rivals if they want to get a few by Lundqvist.

Line-up: Brodeur will be in net for the Devils tonight, and while that is the only known change in the line-up, there may be some more after the weak performance last night. While I get that Damien Brunner hasn't done much in quite some time, he may get another shot to try and spark something new in the line-up. I would be fine seeing either Sestito or Janssen sitting to get someone with a better shot at scoring on the ice.

Step-up: The Devils need someone to step up so the top line of Zubrus, Zajac, and Jagr doesn't need to be over played. Even they haven't scored in a while, so another line needs to click and start scoring now more than ever. There were a few new faces on the score sheet in the games against Montreal with goals from Loktionov and Ryder to name a few, but there needs to be even more of that.

3-for-3: The Devils have won the first two meetings of the season series with New York. A win tonight would be huge since New Jersey is just two points behind the Rangers in the standings with the same number of games played. After three frustrating losses, it would be great to get back on the right track against our hated rivals in what should be looked at as a 4-point game.

Your Take: What do the Devils need to change from last night in order to beat the rival Rangers? Would you like to see any line-up changes? Who needs to step up their game and be a game changer? Feel free to discuss your thoughts on tonight's game in the comments section below. Thanks for reading, and let's go Devils!

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