Hockey This Week
WHO: New Jersey Devils (30-19-3) vs New York Rangers (33-12-5)
TIME: 7:00 P.M. EST
VENUE: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
It was one week ago that Andy Greene’s alert dump-in led to a last minute tying goal that propelled the New Jersey Devils to a 4-3 shootout win over their arch rivals, the New York Rangers. Tonight the scenery changes but the goal remains the same for New Jersey, just win baby.
A victory tonight over the Rangers coupled with a Pittsburgh Penguins loss pushes the Devils to the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference. It also extends New Jersey’s winning streak to a season high five game.
Despite the Devils hot post-All-Star start, defeating Henrik Lundqvist at Madison Square Garden poses a whole new set of problems for New Jersey.
Lundqvist has dominated the Devils throughout his career going 23-9-5 with a 1.82 goals-against average and five shutouts in the regular season, including 30 saves in a 4-1 win at New Jersey back in December. He has been even more masterful at MSG, compiling a 13-3-2 record, 1.46 GAA and four of those shutouts.
But, these Devils are on an offensive tear. They are averaging 4.75 goals per game since the break, led by a refocused Ilya Kovalchuk and the ever consistent Patrik Elias.
Kovalchuk has ten goals in the last 13 games to give him a team high 22, while his 50 points puts him second behind only Elias’ 51 for the team lead.
Elias has 17 points over the last 13 games, but has struggled against New York. The 35 year-old has just two points in seven games against the Hudson River rivals. Kovalchuk has been more successful, netting six goals with two assists in nine meetings.
If you think last weeks come-from-behind win has not played a major role in New Jersey’s current tear, than your sadly mistaken. What effect will tonight’s game play on the rest of the season? We shall see.
Hockey This Week
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