New York Rangers ready for Devil of a time in playoffs

igor shesterkin
Nov 28, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) passes the puck in front of New Jersey Devils left wing Fabian Zetterlund (49) during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils will square off again in the playoffs for the seventh time in history.

In 1992, the Blueshirts prevailed in a hard fought 7-game series that included a bench clearing brawl. They met again in the 1994 Eastern Conference with the Rangers overcoming a 3-2 series deficit thanks to a Mark Messier guarantee and a Stephane Matteau double OT winner en route to the Stanley Cup Final. New York prevailed over the Vancouver Canucks in 7 games to end a 54-year championship drought.

The two teams would split the ensuing four meet ups with the Rangers needing 5 games to eliminate the Devils in 1997. New Jersey took the next one in a 2006 sweep. That was followed by another five game series victory for the Rangers in 2008 and ended with the Devils beating their Hudson River rivals in 6 games of the 2012 Eastern Conference Final. New Jersey would fall to the Los Angeles Kings failing to win the Cup.

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New York Rangers take on Devils

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers weren’t sure who they would be playing in the first round until final scores came in on Thursday night. With the Carolina Hurricanes winning their final contest, they locked up first-place in the Metro Division to set up a Rangers-Devils clash.

“We’ve been expecting to play them,” said Adam Fox after a 3-2 loss to the Leafs last night. “We’ve had some good games against them and they’re a fast, young team.”

New York will have their hands full with the Devils as they’ve struggled to contain their speedy counterparts.

Here’s a breakdown of how each regular-season meeting went:

11/28: Devils 5 vs Rangers 3

The Rangers jump out to a 2-0 lead at home only to be overwhelmed by a relentless Devils squad for the rest of the game.

12/12: Rangers 4 vs Devils 3 (OT)

It was a role reversal at the Garden with the Rangers overcoming a 2-0 hole to win this on a Filip Chytil overtime tally.

1/7: Devils 4 vs Rangers 3 (OT)

The setting was changed to New Jersey but once again the team that opened the scoring lost. New York blew another 2-0 advantage and ultimately fell in OT on a Damon Severson score.

3/30: Devils 2 vs Rangers 1

In tight defensive contest, the Devils jumped out to a 2-0 lead and held on for a huge win that helped solidify home ice in round one.

Rangers ready for Devils

Despite the Rangers going 1-2-1 in the regular-season against the Devils, they’re excited and looking forward to what comes ahead.

“It’s a rivalry and they’re right across the river,” Mika Zibanejad said. “It’s a tough opponent, they’ve had a really good regular season. It’s been tight games against them this season. It’s going to be a lot of fun. I think the crowd and the history adds to it as well.”

Captain Jacob Trouba is anticipating a tough series against the Devils but is thinking about the bigger picture as well.

“We know what we’re capable of, we know what the goal is. I like our team heading into the playoffs and we’re ready to get this going.” Trouba explained. “It’s a rivalry that’s been crazy since I’ve been here… It’ll be exciting for the fans and players.”

Finally, head coach Gerard Gallant credited Lindy Ruff for the job he’s done with the Devils.

“It’ll be a great series,” Gallant noted. “Two skilled teams that know each other pretty well. It should be a great battle. Lindy does a great job with them and they play the right way.”

The NHL announced dates for Games 1 and 2 of the series, although no start times have been set.

Game 1: Rangers at Devils (Tuesday, April 18)
Game 2: Rangers at Devils (Thursday, April 20)

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore