Preview: Rangers at Devils
The New York Rangers attempt to build a three-game winning streak for the first time since mid-January and complete a season-series sweep when they visit the New Jersey Devils on Monday in a battle of non-playoff teams. The Rangers had lost 13-of-15 games before rallying to defeat playoff-bound St. Louis 4-2 on Friday and Alexandar Georgiev made 29 saves two days later to blank Philadelphia 3-0.
“Good to get a couple wins here,” New York's Ryan Strome told reporters after recording a goal and an assist on Sunday. “It’s a tough building, they’ve got a bunch of older guys that know how to win. … Good for the group to have a little more confidence moving forward.” The Rangers have outscored New Jersey 13-7 in three wins this season, including a 4-2 triumph on March 9, after the Devils took three of four in the 2017-18 series. New Jersey has recorded the third-fewest amount of points in the league with 68 - one more than Los Angeles - despite earning at least one in three of its last four contests (2-1-1) after suffering a 3-2 overtime loss to St. Louis on Saturday. “I thought we had great resilience,” Devils center Kevin Rooney told reporters after his team erased two deficits against the Blues. “It shows the character in this locker room. We are not going to give up. We are going to fight through the rest of the season and give it our all for each other, and for the fan base and organization.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, MSG2 (New York), MSG Plus (New Jersey)
ABOUT THE RANGERS (31-34-13): Pavel Buchnevich reached 20 goals for the first time in his career on Sunday after recording his eighth in 14 games, prompting coach David Quinn to tell reporters: “He’s come a long way in four months.” Strome also has stepped up his play since arriving from Edmonton in a trade for Ryan Spooner, registering 17 of his career-high 18 goals and 14 assists in 59 games with the Rangers. “I think (Quinn) has been pretty consistent with me. His message has been (to) just try to make an impact on the game, even if I’m not scoring.”
ABOUT THE DEVILS (29-40-10): Kyle Palmieri leads the team in goals (27) and points (50) but has been kept off the scoresheet in seven straight contests, while Nico Hischier (45 points) is mired in a 12-game goal-scoring drought. Rookie Joey Anderson netted his first tally in 15 games on Saturday and Drew Stafford scored for the third time in five contests to close within four of 200 for his career. Coach John Hynes has been alternating goaltenders, and that could mean Mackenzie Blackwood (8-10-0) gets the start on Monday after allowing 10 goals in his last four outings (2-2-0).
1. Former star RW Patrik Elias will join the Devils' coaching staff as a special assistant for the final week of the season.
2. New York G Henrik Lundqvist is expected to make the start and go after his 450th career victory.
3. The Devils are 15-for-15 on the penalty kill over their last seven games and have scored three power-play goals in the last three contests.
PREDICTION: Devils 3, Rangers 2