Game 66: Rangers Back in Town

The Matchup

Let’s hope the Devils were so focused on this game that they completely overlooked their Sunday matchup against the Islanders. The first place overall (I can’t believe that) Rangers come to town tonight. This is the 5th meeting between the two teams with each team winning 2 of the 4 meetings so far this season. The 6th and final regular season matchup will be on March 19th at MSG.

Keys To The Game

First and foremost, put in a better effort than we saw against the Islanders. The Devils played an incredible game from the moment the puck dropped to the moment the final buzzer sounded last Friday in Washington but then looked extremely fatigued and lethargic against the Islanders on Sunday afternoon. I tweeted it yesterday but back when I played, if we put a performance in like that, our next practice always started out by the coach yelling at us “no need for pucks today boys.” Hopefully DeBoer leaned into them a bit yesterday.

The Rangers LOVE to block shots and they are good at it. I mean anytime you stack 4 deep in your zone, who won’t succeed at blocking pucks? The Devils just need to keep shooting and not let the shot blocking frustrate them. Last week in the Garden, I thought the Devils were trying to get too cute with the puck and waiting for the perfect shot, which never came.  The Devils also need to try and get shots in from the point, something they failed to do a week ago in MSG. Point shots usually creat rebounds which create scoring oppurtunities. The Rangers are as good as they are because of the guy in between the pipes. The rest of the team is just average so if we can poke a hole in the best part of their game, no reason we can’t win. The Rangers are 30-1-3 when scoring the first goal of the game so we know what we have to do….

Players To Watch:

I’m going to have my eye on Clarkson tonight. A week ago, he had a terrible game against the Rangers because he couldn’t seem to stay out of the box in the second period. He’s been a huge asset this season for NJ, scoring goals at key moments (think bad bounce off the glass a few weeks ago) but the Rangers were able to unravel him and take him right out of the game.

Like I said, the Rangers success comes down to one player.  Lundqvist is 11-2-1 with a 1.55 goals-against average, .943 save percentage and four shutouts in his last 14 games. If the Rangers are going to lose, it’s going to be because someone figures out how to get the puck past is enormous pads.

About Darren

Darren is a long time fan of the New Jersey Devils and had been covering the New Jersey Devils for various websites before starting up Running With The Devils in the fall of 2009.