The Rangers had a golden opportunity on Tuesday to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins and come out of the All-Star break with some serious momentum. Unfortunately, they couldn't find the horsepower to keep up with the Penguins (despite them being without Sidney Crosby and Evgeny Malkin), and lost in the shootout.
The road doesn't get any easier for the Rangers, who have a tough schedule this February, as they take on the New Jersey Devils tonight.
The Devils have suddenly found their game, going 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. They will pose an immense threat to the Ranger tonight, who don't want to lose two in a row (even if they did gain a point against the Penguins). Even though it's early, teams do start the playoff push around this time of year, and every point matters.
The Rangers are currently in seventh place in the East, just one point behind Montreal for sixth and two behind Washington for fifth. The Rangers are also six points our of ninth place.
Despite the Devils still being the worst statistical team in the NHL, they are incredibly dangerous right now. Still, this is a game that the Rangers should win if they truly believe that they are a playoff team. Nothing like a big-time litmus test to prove a team's true colors.
- It will be the Rangers second consecutive game with Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky who returned from injury.
- Vaclav Prospal is supposedly closing in on a return date as well.
- Expect Henrik Lundqvist to get the start.