Originally written on The Rangers Tribune  |  Last updated 11/20/14

The New York Rangers are returning to their winning ways as we enter the home stretch of the 2011-12 regular season. Their 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden on Sunday was the team’s fourth win in their last five games, which has put them in the first place spot in the NHL and atop the Eastern Conference standings by an astounding twelve points over the second place B’s. The Blueshirts are again rolling just as they did in November when they first made the ascension to the top of the division, the conference and later the league, and you couldn’t hope for a better time for the club to begin to heat up with the playoffs just around the corner. 

A challenging three-game road trip awaits the Rangers, though, and it all begins tonight against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center. These cross-river rivals have met a total of four previous times this season, and so far they’ve split the series having each won a game at home and away. Only two matches between the Rangers and Devils remain on the schedule, so this will be New York’s final visit to The Rock, unless they faceoff with the Devils down the road in the playoffs.

Their last affair was just last Monday to conclude Trade Deadline Day in the NHL, in which the Rangers ended up shutting out Zach Parise and the Devs, 2-0.  Despite the low total on the scoreboard, the tilt contained much excitement and also great amounts of animosity. Much of that animosity stemmed from the actions of instigator David Clarkson, who was penalized several times and also given a 10-minute game misconduct for running his mouth.

Clarkson may have a target on his back going into tonight’s game, but not for the trash talking. In the second half of last Monday’s contest, Clarkson took it upon himself to leap at the head of a defenseless Brandon Dubinsky along the boards, which ignited a fight between the two and much controversy after. Clarkson did not receive a fine or a suspension for his foolish act, even though that’s the exact play the league is looking to eliminate, so in my mind, he has yet to pay the proper price for what he did. 

New Jersey will need Clarkson, and many others, to focus on the hockey aspect of the game tonight, however, as the team is still in the midst of a major slump which most recently featured a 1-0 shutout loss to the Islanders on Sunday evening. The Devils have won just one of their last six games, so this is one they will want to steal from their ‘older brother’ to gain some confidence back.

The Rangers, on the other hand, are sky high right now after taking down the defending Stanley Cup Champion Bruins on Sunday. As I said, the Blueshirts are beginning to show signs of the unstoppable team we saw earlier in the season when it seemed like they were getting two points literally every night. Their magic number to clinch a playoff spot is now only 12 points, so they are getting closer. 

The points will be hard to come by this week, still, as after their visit to Jersey, the Rangers will then go up to Ottawa to take on the Senators and then to Chicago where they will rematch the Blackhawks. All three of these teams are in the thick of the playoff picture in their respective conferences, which means the Rangers have a few tough hockey games ahead of them.

Henrik Lundqvist will be starting in goal for the Blueshirts while defenseman Steve Eminger will be inserted into the lineup in front of Hank on defense. The Rangers have not announced who will sit in Eminger's place.

Also, captain Ryan Callahan will possibly be making his return after a three-game absence due to a bruised foot. He will be a gametime decision based on warm-ups, so when all of this becomes avialable, I'll have the lineup posted for y'all. 

New York Rangers Lineup

TBA

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Three quarterbacks who could be traded this offseason

Wolves trade Corey Brewer to the Rockets

Yankees trade Prado to Marlins for Eovaldi in 5-player deal

Brandon Browner fined $8K for throwing Brandon Gibson to turf

Report: Sharper, NFLers called spiked drinks 'horny juice'

Rex Ryan: My wife could coach Tom Brady

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jim Harbaugh won in laser tag by 'hunting' 10-year-old kid

Eddie Lacy is ‘very blind,’ refuses to wear goggles

Michael Phelps pleads guilty to DUI, gets probation

NFL scouts not in love with Amari Cooper?

Report: No teams interested in trading for Lance Stephenson

It is not Chip Kelly's fault if Eagles miss playoffs

New video of Ray Rice incident emerges

President Obama calls James Franco “James Flacco”

NBA games of the weekend: Rondo's Dallas debut, Bulls-Grizz

Tuscaloosa students will have two days off if Bama plays in National Championship

Brady scares the **** out of his teammates celebrating

Longhorn Network’s yule log? Five hours of BEVO

Will a Chiefs WR finally catch a TD in Week 16?

Jon Lester and the Cubs

The Toronto Raptors reveal their new logo

Things Johnny Manziel, Browns can do to avoid a bad repeat

What if the Bengals hired Bill Walsh?

Top 10 worst NBA related commercials of all-time

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Three quarterbacks who could be traded this offseason

Jon Lester and the Cubs

Report: NFL players used 'horny juice'

Top 10 worst NBA related commercials of all-time

Game of the week: Colts vs. Cowboys

Phelps gets probation for DUI

NFL coaches on hot seat in Week 16

The Roy Williams-Terrell Owens horse collar turns 10

Most underpaid NFL players in 2014

Gronk jokes about Brady compliment

In Matt Kemp, did the Dodgers find a pigeon in Padres?

Why the Saints are legit playoff threat

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.