Though it may be a down year for their rivals across the Hudson River, the New York Rangers probably couldn’t think of a better place to kick off a 10 game final stretch to build some momentum in the upcoming NHL playoffs.
They’ll look to continue the success they’ve had on the road and sweep the hated New Jersey Devils for the second time in three years when they face off with them for the fourth and final time in their season series finale at Prudential Center (7:00, MSG).
The Rangers (45-24-3) have amassed an astonishing 26-9-0 record on the road, picking up another such win on Saturday in St. Paul against the Minnesota Wild in a 3-2 decision. After falling behind 1-0, Minnesota native Brady Skjei tied things up, before second period goals by Oscar Lindberg and Jimmy Vesey gave the Rangers the scores they needed for the win. In net, Antti Raanta made 25 saves to secure the victory.
Meanwhile, the Devils (26-33-12) are mired in a long slump, currently 1-8-0 in March thus far and 1-10-2 in their past 13 games. That trend continued on Sunday, when they fell to the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 on Sunday afternoon at Prudential Center. In what became the playoff-clinching win for Columbus, the Devils allowed two goals via penalty shot, while earning their lone goal from Adam Henrique.
This will be the fourth and final meeting between the metropolitan rivals, the Rangers taking each of the first three beforehand. The last meeting was also at Prudential Center, with the Rangers’ 4-3 win on February 25 needing overtime to pull off. Chris Kreider and Lindberg gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead after one, but a New Jersey rally, featuring two Kyle Palmieri goals in 47 seconds to open the third period, gave them a 3-2 lead. However, Adam Clendening tied it in the late stages of regulation, while Mika Zibanejad would win it in overtime. Raanta contributed with 35 saves.