Headed into Christmas, the holiest of the Christian holidays, the New York Rangers will be facing a demonic prescience, taking on the New Jersey Devils in a pair of Sunday games at Madison Square Garden, the first of which will go down tonight at Madison Square Garden (7:00, MSG).
The Rangers (19-9-1) enter having won back-to-back games for the first time since mid-November, following up a 2-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets with a 1-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night. Raanta, who will make his third consecutive start tonight, made 26 saves in the shutout effort, while Nick Holden scored during the 3-on-3 overtime period to give the Rangers the thrilling road victory.
The Devils (12-9-6), meanwhile, have recently cooled off after a 9-3-3 stat, having gone 3-6-3 since. The most recent defeat came on Friday night, a 4-1 loss at home against the St. Louis Blues, their first regulation loss at home in Newark this season. Ex-Ranger PA Parenteau scored the lone New Jersey goal, his sixth of the season.
This will be the first meeting between the Rangers and Devil this season, and the first of a couple over the next two Sunday nights. The Rangers went 1-2-1 against the Devils last season, with the lone win coming in 2-1 fashion on February 8 at Madison Square Garden. Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves in a winning effort, while Kevin Klein and JT Miller providing the goals. Late in the third period, Travis Zajac scored the lone New Jersey goal, coming on a penalty kill. The two teams will meet again next Sunday night before a pair of Jersey visits in February and March.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490