New York Rangers vs New Jersey Devils series preview and prediction

NHL: New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers vs New Jersey Devils series should be a fast-paced and exciting affair.

During their four regular-season contests, each game was close and momentum swings played a huge role whenever they squared off.

“It’s a rivalry and they’re right across the river,” Mika Zibanejad said. “It’s a tough opponent and 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.”

New York Rangers vs New Jersey Devils Schedule

GAMEDATEHOMEAWAYTIMETV
1Tue, April 18, 2023New Jersey DevilsNew York Rangers7:00 PMMSGSN
2Thu, April 20, 2023New Jersey DevilsNew York Rangers7:30 PMMSG
3Sat, April 22, 2023New York RangersNew Jersey Devils8:00 PMABC
4Mon, April 24, 2023New York RangersNew Jersey Devils7:00 PMMSG
5Thu, April 27, 2023New Jersey DevilsNew York Rangers7:30 PMMSG
6Sat, April 29, 2023New York RangersNew Jersey Devils8:00
PM
ABC
7Mon, May 1, 2023New Jersey DevilsNew York Rangers8:00
PM
MSG
NYR vs NJD Schedule -subject to change

Rangers vs Devils Season Recap

NEW YORK RANGERS
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

NJD: 52-22-8, 112 points (2nd place in Metro)
NYR: 47-22-13, 107 points (3rd place in Metro)

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 a 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.

NYR lose season series 1-2-1 (11 GF – 14 GA)

Rangers vs Devils Series Matchup

OFFENSE

The New York Rangers come into this series with a 3.33 goals per game average on the season. The New Jersey Devils rank higher with a 3.52 goals per game average.

There’s no denying that the Devils are a talented group of scorers. Jack Hughes has already become one of the best centers in the league but will he sacrifice offense in favor of playoff defense? That’s the question for all of these young New Jersey forwards in this series.

Meanwhile, the Rangers have a bunch of proven playoff performers. Two of which were trade deadline acquisitions in Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrick Kane. The team also has possibly the best third-line in the playoffs with Filip Chytil, Kaapo Kakko, and Alexis Lafreniere.

While the Devils have posted great regular-season numbers, the Rangers’ experience and depth on all four lines gives them a small advantage.

Let’s take a look at each team’s top five offensive players (minimum 40 games played)

RANGERSPts/GmDEVILSPts/Gm
Artemi Panarin1.12Jack Hughes1.27
Mika Zibanejad1.11Nico Hischier0.99
Adam Fox0.88Dougie Hamilton0.90
Vincent Trocheck0.78Jesper Bratt0.89
Vladimir Tarasenko0.72Timo Meier0.85
NYR v NJD Pts/Gm Avg 2022-23

Verdict: Slight edge Rangers

DEFENSE

The New York Rangers have done a decent job of forechecking and limiting shots from the slot area. That being said, they still have spells where they lose focus in the d-zone and have to be bailed out by their goalies.

On the season, the Blueshirts finished fourth in goals allowed at 2.63. However, the Devils were stingy too finishing with 2.71 goals allowed per game, good for eighth in the NHL. Meanwhile, the Devils allowed less shots than the Rangers but only by a hair (28.2 to 29.3).

This one is close, but I have to give the nod to Devils. Adam Fox may be the best defenseman in the series, but Dougie Hamilton is not that far behind. Overall, the Devils speed and play as a five-man unit gives them the edge.

Verdict: Edge Devils

GOALTENDING

Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin is one of the best in the NHL and has been excellent over the last two months of the season. The 27 year-old posted a career-high in wins with a record 37-13-8 and three shutouts. Although his stats dropped off from last year’s Vezina winning performance, his .916 SV% (8th) and 2.48 GAA (6th) were in the top 10 for goalies with at least 40 games.

Devils goalie Vitek Vanecek had a career year across the board. The 27 year-old netminder posted a 33-11-4 mark with a GAA of 2.45 (5th) and a .911 SV% (11th). He’s been rock-solid in his first season with New Jersey.

Coming into the playoffs, Shesterkin gives the Rangers the advantage because of his playoff experience and hot goaltending. Since March 1, Shesterkin has a record of 11-3-1 with a GAA of 1.98 and a .934 SV%. Meanwhile, Vanecek is 8-5-1 with a GAA of 2.66 and a .904 SV%. In 3 playoff appearances (all with the Washington Capitals), Vanecek is 1-1-0 with a bloated GAA of 4.25 and an .855 SV%.

Verdict: Edge Rangers

SPECIAL TEAMS

When it comes to special teams the New York Rangers had their ups and downs. Of course, even though they frustrate fans with their pass-first mentality, the power play is lethal. Both PK’s are solid and a threat to score shorthanded.

The Blueshirts get the edge here simply because they can put forth two solid units on the power play that present different challenges for the Devils PK.

TEAMPP%PP GFPK%SH GFSH GA
RANGERS24.15981.285
DEVILS21.94982.698
SPECIAL TEAM STATS 2022-23

Verdict: Edge Rangers

Rangers vs Devils Prediction

In the end, it will come down to Igor Shesterkin and the Rangers experience from last season’s run that will be the difference.

Prediction: Rangers beat Devils in 6

“It’ll be a great series,” Gerard 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.”

Note: Stats via NHL.com

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