The New York Rangers second half of the 2015-2016 season kicks off on Tuesday night versus their divisional rivals across the Hudson River.
New York makes its first trip to the Prudential Center this year, as the Rangers will look to defeat the New Jersey Devils for the first time since last April. The Broadway Blueshirts currently sit in second place for the Metropolitan Division, yet the Devils are not far behind; Jersey’s Team only trails New York by four points in the standings.
So, Tuesday night’s classic rivalry matchup between the two metro-clubs should not disappoint.
Here are three things to know for the Rangers second meeting with New Jersey…
3.) The King & his men cross the Hudson with confidence
While the Original Six franchise is 82-86-28 against the Devils all-time (since organization moved to N.J.) during the regular season — it’s been a different story for Rangers and netminder Henrik Lundqvist over the past five years. New York has won 19 of the past 31 meetings with Jersey since 2010-11, and The King has posted a 12-7-2 record vs. red and black. The Blueshirts swept the Devils in the season series during 2015 (4-0) for the first time since 1994, plus the club only allowed seven goals.
The Rangers haven’t lost at the Prudential Center since October of 2013, either.
2.) No Rick Nash
On Monday, the club confirmed at team practice that forward Rick Nash will not dress for the game Tuesday night.
Nash suffered a bone bruise on his left leg, which dates back to the team’s game vs. the Carolina Hurricanes on January 22. The Devils will also be without one of their top scorers, as forward Michael Cammalleri continues to battle an upper-body injury.
1.) Time to Step it up
New York has only managed to win nine games away from Madison Square Garden this season, which is one of the league’s worst road records. Plus, the Rangers are only 7-4-4 against Metropolitan Division opponents, and if the club would like to make serious improvements going forward this second half — collecting in-division points will be crucial.
Even though center Derick Brassard has led the way for the offense during the 216 campaign — don’t be surprised if the team’s other top center, Derek Stepan, gets on the score sheet early for the Rangers tomorrow night at The Rock. Stepan leads all current Rangers players with 23 career points (11 goals & 12 assists) in 25 games played vs. the Devils.
If the Blueshirts want to rekindle some magic from the past two seasons — they’ll hope it starts tomorrow night, led by the Minnesota native stepping up his performance on the ice.
The Rangers play New Jersey two more times during the month of February after the rivals face-off tomorrow night — February 8 at MSG and February 23 back at The Rock.
Divisional points will play a big factor on where the Rangers end up finishing in the Eastern Conference standings…puck drops at 7pm tomorrow night.
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