Rangers-Devils Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 19, 2011
A dramatic, last-second victory may have given the New York Rangers renewed momentum. Riding a four-game winning streak, the New Jersey Devils have plenty already. The local rivals meet for the first time this season Tuesday night in New Jersey. Brad Richards scored with one-tenth of a second left in regulation to give New York (18-8-4) a 3-2 win at Phoenix on Saturday. The innocuous back-handed shot was originally deemed after the horn, but video review showed it crossed the goal line with time remaining. "I was trying to throw something on the net and had no idea what would happen after that," said Richards, who has two goals in his last four games. "I came on the ice with 20 seconds remaining, and tried to make something happen." Prior to the dramatics in Phoenix, the Rangers had dropped four of six since a 12-2-0 run. New York will try to carry its newfound momentum into the first game of the season series with the Devils (18-13-1). The Rangers took four of six last season, including two of three in Newark. "It's a rivalry game so I think everybody gets up for it," Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur told the team's official website. "In the past, it didn't matter what team was rolling. It's a matchup that I think everybody enjoys just because of the atmosphere in the building. We're looking forward to just continuing what we're doing." New Jersey is trying to win five straight for the first time since an eight-game run Feb. 6-22. The Devils extended their current streak to a season-high four games Saturday, winning 5-3 at Montreal behind two goals from Patrick Elias, who became the franchise's all-time leader with 348. Elias also leads the Devils this season with 13 goals and 29 points, including four goals and two assists over his last four games. However, he managed only one assist against the Rangers last season. Brodeur is scheduled to start for New Jersey. He wasn't very sharp against New York in 2010-11, losing three of four starts with a 2.77 goals-against average. He's trying to win three starts in a row for the first time this season after stopping 37 of 52 shots over the last two games. Brodeur will have to contend with Marian Gaborik, who scored twice Saturday to increase his season total to 17 goals. Eleven of those have come on the road, including five over his last six away games with five ending in Rangers victories. Gaborik has yet to score a goal in five visits to Prudential Center as a Ranger. New York learned Monday that defenseman Steve Eminger will be out at least eight weeks with a shoulder injury, suffered Saturday when he was hit behind the net by Phoenix's Martin Hanzel. Eminger joins Marc Staal and Michael Sauer (both concussions) as Rangers blue liners who are out for an extended period. The Rangers have called up Stu Bickel from Connecticut of the AHL to replace Eminger and make his NHL debut. Bickel had one goal, three assists and 80 penalty minutes in 27 games in the minors. "It's tough to say (how I will feel), obviously I'll be a little nervous heading into my first game, but at the same time I have played in pressure situations before and I feel that I am ready for the opportunity," Bickel told the Rangers' official website. Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist is 22-9-5 with a 1.85 GAA and five shutouts against New Jersey.
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