Well, it felt like it was the right time for the Rangers to meet the Devils, didn't it? After taking the first three games of the season, the Rangers lost on Tuesday and Thursday night falling to the Winnipeg Jets and the Montreal Canadiens. Since Mats Zuccarello's goal in the first period at the Garden on Tuesday night, the Rangers have yet to get a puck past a goaltender.
A big part of the Rangers' stuttering offensive production is attributable to Rick Nash struggling early. The Rangers' best goal scoring forward has now set a personal record for the most amount of games at the beginning of the season without scoring a goal. Nash had a few good looks at the net against Montreal, but Carey Price was brilliant. Nash is simply too good to stay off the board for much longer, tonight might be the night when he finally breaks through against a porous Devil's blue line group.
This might come off as a particularly Rangers-biased observation, but the New Jersey Devils are a very bad hockey team. The Rangers will have an opportunity to get back to winning hockey this afternoon against their longtime rival before they play the Logan Couture-less San Jose Sharks tomorrow night at the Garden. The Devils are looking like an early candidate to be the worst team in the division and, perhaps, the NHL this season. However, so long as we're talking Devils and Rangers, you never really know what you're going to get. The Rangers cannot afford to take this game lightly the way that they took the Jets lightly on Tuesday night.
- Rangers' Shaking up Lines Against Devils
- Why don't the Devils Roll with Seven Defensemen?
- Devils: Low Event Hockey
The offense will come for the Rangers and, with any luck, it will get started with the power play this afternoon. Small sample size aside, a 7.1% power play through the first five games of the season is something that will get better because it really can't get much worse. If the Rangers find a way to lose this afternoon's game, brace yourselves for a lot of vocal and dramatic Rangers fans trying to convince everyone that the sky is falling. Vigneault has moved some pieces around and shuffled the Rangers lines which might spark some production in a game that the Rangers really should have little trouble winning.
Henrik Lundqvist is the projected starter today which means we might get our first look at Antti Raanta tomorrow night against the Sharks. Hank is 33-14-6 against the Devils in regular season games and has posted a .932 SV% and a 1.86 GAA. Cory Schneider is 1-4-1 against the Rangers in his regular season career and has a 2.51 GAA and a .912 SV% against the Blueshirts.
What do you think of the Rangers' lines today? Will the power play wake up?
Thanks for reading, let's go Rangers.