The New York Rangers (19-12-3) have come a long way from their turbulent start to the 2017-2018 season and are now just four points out of first and only two behind the New Jersey Devils (19-9-5) who have been battling for the first-place Metropolitan division position all season.
The last matchup between these teams saw the Rangers winning decisively, 5-2, behind a two-goal game from Mats Zuccarello and 26 saves from Henrik Lundqvist.
Cory Schneider will get the start in net for the Devils after Keith Kinkaid started the previous two games between these teams.
Both goaltenders will be key tonight as they try to shutdown the other team’s offensive push. The Devils have scored five goals in three of their last four and the Rangers have scored 11 goals in their last three games.
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Mika Zibanejad made his return to the lineup against the Anaheim Ducks Saturday, but was utilized in a slightly limited role. The Rangers’ number one center logged only 13:32 of ice time.
The forward that took his place during his absence, David Desharnais seemed to prove his worthiness to more ice time with two primary assists in the Rangers’ last win against the Anaheim Ducks.
Zibanejad will be granted more ice time tonight and will have another chance to reinstate the previous chemistry he had developed with Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich on the top line.
Chris Kreider — Mika Zibanejad — Pavel Buchnevich
Rick Nash — J.T. Miller — Mats Zuccarello
Michael Grabner — Kevin Hayes — Jesper Fast
Paul Carey — David Desharnais — Jimmy Vesey
Ryan McDonagh — Nick Holden
Brady Skjei — Kevin Shattenkirk
Marc Staal — Brendan Smith