The Blueshirts and the Devils are set for their second of four straight games following a 3-0 Rangers win in New Jersey on Tuesday (7:00 P.M. ET, MSG).
|Rangers||East Division Ranks /8||Devils|
The Rangers won the first of four between the two teams by a score of 3-0. The game was rather mundane, but the Rangers won’t care as they came away with two points. The goals were scored by Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin. Panarin’s goal gave him 138 points in his first 100 games and he passed Mark Messier for most points in their first 100 games with the Rangers. The empty-net goal by Pavel Buchnevich was the 20,000th in Rangers history. The big story of the game was Igor Shesterkin registering his first career NHL shutout. Shesterkin made 27 saves including timely saves at 0-0 and 1-0.
“I want to thank all the players who played in front of me and blocked shots the whole game, especially at the end, when it was so meaningful to me to get this win and the shutout, and they did it for me,” said Shesterkin.
Shesterkin will be back in the net for the Rangers on Thursday night.
The Blueshirts looked a bit sluggish on Tuesday and they’ll need to play a better game to defeat New Jersey for the second time in a row. The Devils will be looking to put a dent in the Rangers charge for the playoffs and they’ll get a boost as Nico Hischier will play in his second game since missing over 20 games with injury. The Devils captain returned on Tuesday and he will be more dangerous with a game already under his belt.
New Jersey appears to be without Pavel Zacha and Jesper Bratt. Zacha didn’t play in the game on Tuesday, whereas Bratt blocked a shot by Jacob Trouba and left in a considerable amount of pain. Both players were not on the ice for New Jersey’s morning skate.
The Devils will go back to MacKenzie Blackwood who allowed two goals on 19 shots in the first game this week. Blackwood is 9-13-3 on the season with a 3.03 goals against average and a .902 save percentage.
Zac Jones practiced with the Blueshirts and he wore number six. Jones won’t be in the lineup as he continues to get familiar with his new surroundings and gets up to speed.
“You want to put him in a situation where he will be a success…,” said head coach David Quinn. “This is the National Hockey League and you don’t just drop a guy in.”
Artemi Panarin did not participate in the Rangers morning skate due to maintenance, however, Quinn expects the Russian to be good to go for game time. Providing that Panarin is available, the Blueshirts will stick with the exact same lineup that won on Tuesday.