After a hot start to the second half of the season, the New Jersey Devils are struggling. They're just 5-4-1 in their last 10 games and have slipped from fourth place in the conference to sixth, one point ahead of the Ottawa Senators.
Tuesday night, a matchup against the top-seeded New York Rangers could help to get the Devils back on track. The two Atlantic Division rivals square off tonight at the Prudential Center. Gametime is 7 p.m. and can be seen on MSG Plus.
New Jersey has lost four of its last five games, the most recent defeat coming in a 1-0 loss to the New York Islanders Sunday at Nassau Coliseum. Kyle Okposo scored the game's only goal, beating Martin Brodeur at the 2:39 mark of the second period. Anders Nilsson stopped 24 shots. The Devils managed just 12 shots over the first two periods, and captain Zach Parise said afterward the Devils played themselves out of a win.
"I think it was more we did it to ourselves," he told Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record. "For the first 40 minutes we played into their hands. We didn't come out of our zone with the puck at all. We turned the puck over a lot and we're pretty easy to play against when we do that. So, we did it to ourselves I thought."
The Rangers, meanwhile, have continued to find ways to win. Their 91 points are a league-high, one ahead of the Western Conference-leading Vancouver Canucks. They've won three of their last four games, the latest being a 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins Sunday at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers held leads of 2-0, 2-1 and 3-2, but lost them all as the Bruins tied the game three separate times. However, the Rangers ultimately came out on top, with Derek Stepan tallying the game-winning goal at the 12:21 mark in the third period.
The Devils and Rangers have split the season series, with each winning two games. New York won the most recent meeting 2-0 February 27 at MSG. Carl Hagelin scored the game-winning goal in the first period and Ryan Callahan added an empty-net goal to seal the win. The Devils recorded just 13 shots on net in the loss.
The game continues a stretch of division games for New Jersey. They will face the Islanders twice more this week.
For more on the Devils, check out the SB Nation blog In Lou We Trust.