New York Rangers set to give the Devils their due in rematch
The New York Rangers will be taking on the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on Tuesday night. They will also be looking to get some revenge for a 7-4 loss on March 22.
Both teams were reminded Sunday that trying to come back from three-goal deficits isn’t exactly a recipe for success in the National Hockey League.
As they will each try to come out of the gate strong ins search of a win, the Rangers won’t be taking the Devils lightly. New York holds a 2-1 as they close out the season series with a victory in Newark, N.J..
The Rangers may be getting second line center Ryan Strome back for the tilt. He was injured over a week ago against the Buffalo Sabres and has missed the last four games due to a lower-body issue.
New York Rangers will look to payback Devils
Each squad was off Monday following eventful 4-3 losses Sunday in which the Rangers fell to the visiting Philadelphia Flyers in a shootout and the host Devils couldn’t complete a comeback against the Islanders.
The loss was the second straight for the Rangers (44-20-6, 94 points), who enter the week four points behind the Carolina Hurricanes in the race for first place in the Metropolitan Division.
But a spirited third-period comeback consisting of three goals — the last two of which were scored in a 12-second span — at least provided a lift for the Rangers and offered a valuable lesson as the playoffs approach.
The Rangers have qualified for the playoffs just once since the spring of 2017 — following the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, when they made the expanded field as the 10th seed in the East and were swept by the Hurricanes in a best-of-five qualifying round.
“We feel like we’re a really good team, and really good teams can come back in games like that,” said Rangers center Andrew Copp, who played in 34 playoff games for the Winnipeg Jets the previous four seasons.
“Even though we didn’t get the extra point at the end, I think the confidence gained from the way we played in the last two periods and being able to come back from something like that — which is going to happen in the playoffs, for sure, in my experience, I’ve seen it a lot. Being able to stop the momentum going the other way and turn it in our favor.”
Igor Shesterkin not pleased with his play
After a tough game against the New York Islanders, Igor Shesterkin got off to a shaky start versus the Flyers on Sunday. It started with a wobbly slap shot that went over his glove to give Philly a 1-0 lead. That was followed by a bit of breakdown in the defensive zone with Owen Tippet snapping one to beat his glove side again just 50 seconds later.
The MSG broadcast noted that Shesterkin kept putting his glove to his head over and over in frustration.
Shesterkin settled down and made several huge stops, including two Tippet breakaways to keep the Rangers in it. However, after the game he wasn’t in any mood to talk about his own play.
The Russian born goalie, who normally needs utilizes a translator, however when asked about his performance he gave a quick response in English.
“I don’t want to talk about my game,” Shesterkin said.
“I’m a little bit frustrated,” he added via a translator. “You really want to keep winning but I’ll keep working on my game.”
While Shesterkin’s numbers this season are Vezina worthy with a GAA of 2.14 and a SV% of .933, he has struggled lately.
Since being pulled against the Devils on 3/22, he is 2-2-1 with a 2.96 GAA and a shocking .876 SV%. Albeit, his two wins came in big games against the Penguins.
I expect Gerard Gallant to give his number a shot at redemption on Tuesday.
Devils still dangerous despite no playoff hopes
The Devils, who are in last place in the Metropolitan Division, have grown far too familiar with watching opponents gain momentum at their expense this season.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau produced a natural hat trick within the first 35 minutes Sunday to stake the Islanders to a 3-0 lead against the Devils (24-39-6, 54 points) who have given up 258 goals in 69 games — the fourth most in the NHL and just 17 shy of the total they gave up during the most recent full 82-game season in 2018-19.
Like the Rangers, though, the Devils found some solace in a late comeback attempt that made them feel better in the midst of a challenging stretch. New Jersey twice pulled within a goal in the third period Sunday, barely 24 hours after they squandered a four-goal third-period lead in a 7-6 overtime loss to the Florida Panthers.
“I thought we were really flat in the first period,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said Sunday. “Maybe we were having a pity party from the night before, where we felt pretty bad about the way that game ended.”
The Devils may be thinking of shutting down Jack Hughes for the season after he left Sunday’s loss to the Islanders after a hit by Oliver Wahlstrom.
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–Field Level Media contributed to this report.