Pregame Analysis

It’s Game Day! Rangers defense will need to step up to prevent back-to-back losses against Devils tonight

Henrik Lundqvist stood on his head for the Blueshirts against the Washington Capitals yesterday, but couldn’t find enough defensive help in front of him to get the win. Now, the Rangers (15-11-2) are back in action on a snowy night in New York and can’t afford to drop tonight’s game against their long-time rival, the New Jersey Devils (16-8-4).

The Devils are currently battling for first place in the metro, and if they win tonight they very well could see themselves back on top. Rangers Coach Alain Vigneault will need to make some major defensive adjustments in order to prevent that from happening.

Keith Kinkaid was the star of the last game the Rangers played against the Devils as he made some key saves to help the cross-Hudson rival hold on for the win. The backup goaltender will be back in net again tonight.

Player to watch: The Entire New York Rangers Defense

Captain Ryan McDonagh and Kevin Shattenkirk have been the most consistent Rangers defenders, but even they need to step up their game to make life easier for Lundqvist

Henrik Lundqvist is attempting to carry the struggling New York Rangers — this is basically the story of his entire career, but now at 35 years old the lack of defensive help is making it even more difficult. Brendan Smith and Nick Holden have shown moments where they can be solid D-men, but their blind passes and errant turnovers have caused havoc and chaos in the Rangers own end.

This expands beyond just the D-men though. They’ll need help back from their forwards to be strong in their own end and keep breakouts smooth and clean.

Rangers Lines

Chris Kreider — David Desharnais — Pavel Buchnevich
Jimmy Vesey — Kevin Hayes — Rick Nash
Michael Grabner — J.T. Miller — Mats Zuccarello
Paul Carey — Boo Nieves — Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh — Nick Holden
Brady Skjei — Kevin Shattenkirk
Marc Staal — Brendan Smith

Henrik Lundqvist
Ondrej Pavelec

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