Rangers Look to Bounce Back Against the Devils

The New York Rangers had their winning streak snapped last night in Washington. It does not get easier for the Blueshirts as they look to bounce back against Metropolitan Division rival New Jersey Devils.

This will be no easy task as the Devils are an extremely tough team. The Devils are also looking to rebound from a division loss as they fell to the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-3 last night.

Keys to NYR Victory

The key to the Rangers turn around this season has come from simplifying their game. They will need to continue to play smart hockey. Another key would be the first 10 minutes of the game. As of late the team has gotten off to slow starts and given up early goals. The team cannot afford to continue this trend. Coming out strong will be key to the teams victory.

Power Play

Like we’ve asserted to, the power play is beginning to become a concern. Going into tonight’s game the Rangers man-advantage is 3/30 in their last 10 games, despite having the 9th best overall Power Play Percentage in the NHL this season (20.8%). Special teams wise these two teams are evenly matched. The Rangers Power Play (20.8% ranked 9th) and the Devils Power Play (20.4% ranked 12th) as well as the teams Penalty Kills (Devils, 81.7% PK ranked 12th, Rangers 81.3% ranked 13th).

12 Man, 60 Minute Effort

The New York Rangers are going to be without Mika Zibanejad for the 5th straight game now. They are 2-2 without him and it’s yet to be determined just how much his presence is missed. Results have varied as the two losses in that time frame have come against Washington and Florida, both games which they got off to slow starts they couldn’t completely overcome. In the two victories against Carolina and Pittsburgh they also got off to slow starts, however all four lines were able to pitch in to seal the comebacks. The New Jersey Devils will come firing, the New York Rangers will need to come out strong and focused from the drop of the puck in this game and rely on all 12 forwards to contribute. (While scoring hasn’t been lacking in Zibanejad’s absence as the Rangers have averaged 3.28 GF/G throughout the 2017-18 season, they’e averaged 3.75 GF/G over the past 4.)

Players to watch


Paul Carey: Against the Capitals, Paul Carey had a very strong game and the Rangers fourth line is looking very strong as of late. He has earned Alain Vigneault’s trust and has gelled very well on the 4th line playing the gritty, hard hat role.

Carey (3 Points, Plus+/-2 in his last 3 games), Boo Nieves (2 points, Plus+/-3 in the last 3 games) and Jesper Fast (5 Goals in the past 7 games) are playing extremely well together and are seeing minutes at times most wouldn’t have expected and it comes from their good play and reliability.

Brady Skjei: It’s starting to come together for Skjei. Lately we have seen him join the rush and have golden opportunities offensively. I think Skjei ends up on the stat sheet tonight and continues solid defensive play as well.


Taylor Hall: This is an obvious choice as Hall has immense talent and scoring ability. He has really helped the growth of first overall pick Nico Hischier. Hall is a point per game player this season and will be a tough match up for the Rangers.

Will Butcher: The rookie Butcher is having a strong start to his career. Butcher has 18 points in 27 games and is a plus seven as well. The Rangers have a hard time containing  talented defensemen. If they can contain Butcher especially on the penalty kill it is a key to victory.

Why this game matters:

This may be a bit of a hot take, but the Metropolitan Division is good. Keeping pace after the Rangers slow start is the only way for the team to contend. As of now the Metro holds five of the eight playoff positions. This means that every game against a division opponent could impact the end of the season standings as well. four points separate the Rangers from the Devils, 5 separate them from Columbus. With the Blue Jackets in action tonight against Arizona, a Rangers loss could find them 7 points back of the pack.

Other Notes:

In the first game between these two teams Brian Boyle was still out. Seeing Brian Boyle back on MSG ice, even wearing the Devils red, will be the sight for sore eyes. A fan favorite on any team he plays for Boyle won his bout against cancer and has been productive on the ice this season. #BoyleStrong indeed. Brian Boyle had some great times with the New York Rangers and scored some big goals. He was a stalwart on the 4th line for New York alongside Derek Dorsett and Dominic Moore during their 2014 Stanley Cup Finals run scoring some big goals along the way.



Puck Drops at 7 LETS GO RANGERS!


Mentioned in this article:

More About: