Rangers beef up for clash with Devils at MSG

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at New York Rangers
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers have their eyes set on winning the Metropolitan Division and need a combination of 12 points gained or lost by the second-place Carolina Hurricanes. With each club only having seven games remaining this season, the Blueshirts can make headway on Wednesday as they host the floundering New Jersey Devils.

In Monday’s 5-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, New York lacked bite in their lineup, and will look to find that by possibly reinserting big boy, Matt Rempe to face their Hudson River rivals. He took reps at practice on the fourth line rotating with fellow rookie, Will Cuylle.

“Will has been a really good player for us and I’m fortunate to have 13 good [forwards] right now that bring something different,” coach Peter Laviolette explained.

The move will certainly have a struggling Devils team probably seeking retribution more than a win. To date, Rempe has played two games against New Jersey and has been ejected for hits that have injured two of their players. On Feb. 22 at Prudential Center, Rempe totaled 17 penalty minutes and was kicked out of the game for a hit on Devils forward Nathan Bastian. And on March 11 at MSG, he was assessed a match penalty for elbowing Devils defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler that earned him a four-game suspension.

Devils’ enforcer Kurtis MacDermid will certainly be chasing Rempe for some payback after making some harsh comments following their last encounter.

“After a hit like that (against Bastian), it kind of goes without saying you should answer the bell and be a man about it,” MacDermid said. “The game goes on and he throws another hit like that … There’s a right way to go about it things and a wrong way. I kind of lost a lot of respect for him tonight.”

On defense, Erik Gustafsson practiced in full and is expected to replace Zac Jones. The veteran has not played since leaving a 4-3 shootout win over the Florida Panthers on March 23 with an upper-body injury.

Here’s today’s game and broadcast info:

New York Rangers (50-21-4) vs New Jersey Devils (36-34-4)
Date/Time: April 3, 2024 @ 7:00 PM ET
Arena: Madison Square Garden
Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM

Note: Subject to change, updated for each game

Related: Milestone filled March

New York Rangers projected lineup

NHL: New Jersey Devils at New York Rangers
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s the expected lineup:

Kreider – Zibanejad – Roslovic
Panarin – Trocheck – Lafreniere
Brodzinski – Wennberg – Kakko
Vesey – Goodrow – Rempe

Lindgren – Fox
Miller – Trouba
Gustafsson – Schneider


Note: The New York Rangers will hold a morning skate tomorrow at 10:30 AM ET at Madison Square Garden. Head Coach Peter Laviolette will address the media afterwards. Check back here for updates.

New York Rangers vs New Jersey Devils

The Rangers (104 points) still remain in the lead for the Presidents’ Trophy, up one point over the Dallas Stars and Boston Bruins (103 points). Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Division is almost as tight with the second-place Carolina Hurricanes only three points behind (101 points). On Wednesday, the Stars face the Edmonton Oilers with a chance to claim first overall, while the Bruins and Hurricanes will lock horns this coming Thursday.

Checking in on the Devils, they blew a 3-1 third-period lead in spectacular fashion against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday, losing 6-3. That leaves them six points in back of the Washington Capitals, who have a game in hand, for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Despite New Jersey losing their last two games, and going 6-8-0 since firing Lindy Ruff in favor of Travis Green, these rivalry games are always competitive. New York will also be playing with an edge looking to rebound from a subpar performance against the Penguins on Monday.

“We’re pissed off about this one,” defenseman Ryan Lindgren said. “We’ll move on … We want to be playing good hockey and win every game we can to feel good going into the playoffs.”

Against the Devils, the Blueshirts have points in five of their last six regular-season games (4-1-1). They currently lead season-series (3-0-0) and will be looking for the sweep.

Upcoming Rangers Milestones

  • Vincent Trocheck is 3 goals away from 200 in his career
  • Braden Schneider is 1 game away from 200 in his career
  • Mika Zibanejad is 8 goals away from 300 in his career
  • Kaapo Kakko is 7 games away from 300 in his career

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

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