Devils-Rangers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 27, 2012
A milestone goal from Ryan Callahan helped the Eastern Conference-leading New York Rangers get back on track. The New Jersey Devils seem to need of a spark of their own. The Rangers look to build on their latest effort Monday night when they host a Devils team trying to avoid losing three straight games in regulation for the first time in almost three months. New York (39-15-6) has seven more points than any other club in the East, but didn't look like one of the league's elite during a recent two-game road swing. Three nights after falling 2-0 to Pittsburgh, the Rangers suffered a 4-3 shootout loss Friday to the last-place Islanders. Getting back to Madison Square Garden seemed to make all the difference for the Rangers, who beat Buffalo 3-2 in overtime Saturday for their fourth win in five home games. The Rangers erased two one-goal deficits before Callahan scored his 100th career goal 2:59 into the extra session. "For us to come back and tie it up and not lose one like we did (Friday) night - get the two points instead of just the one - it's good for our team. We took a step in the right direction (Saturday)," coach John Tortorella said. "It's a big win for us, that's a big win for us, just to try and gain some momentum." Callahan nearly came up with another big score during a 1-0 home loss to New Jersey (35-22-4) on Feb. 7. Callahan appeared to have tied the game with 3.5 seconds left, but his goal was disallowed on a controversial interference call after teammate Marian Gaborik crashed into Martin Brodeur in the crease. Brodeur, who made 30 saves in that game to earn his only shutout of the season, turned away 23 shots in a 4-3 shootout win over the Rangers on Jan. 31 in New Jersey. While they've taken their last two meetings with the Rangers, the Devils have dropped their last two overall, falling 2-1 to Vancouver on Friday and 4-3 to Tampa Bay on Sunday. New Jersey, currently sixth in the East with 74 points, hasn't dropped three straight in regulation since a season-high four-game slide Nov. 26-Dec. 3. "We have to continue with what we've been trying to do. I know we lost two games but we did a lot of good things against Vancouver and I thought we did some good things (Sunday)," Brodeur said after stopping only 12 of 16 shots against the Lightning. "Just continue to work hard, play with a little emotion - that shouldn't be hard playing against the Rangers to try to get that level up. But I think we have to try to do that a little more consistently if we don't wanna go up and down here for the rest of the way." Brodeur hasn't started on consecutive days all season but that could change Monday. He is 9-0-1 with a 1.84 goals-against average over his last 11 road games. New Jersey has outscored opponents 22-11 during a seven-game road winning streak - their longest such run since opening 2009-10 with nine straight victories away from home. The Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist made 18 saves Saturday, improving to 9-2-0 with a 1.34 GAA over his last 11 games. Lundqvist is 13-4-2 with four shutouts and a 1.44 lifetime GAA against the Devils at home.
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