The New York Rangers met up with the New Jersey Devils for the second straight time during the preseason, and once again, they defeated them in regulation. Tonight was a bit different than the first time they met up though, with the Rangers scoring twice in the third period to overcome a one goal deficit. Henrik Lundqvist started the game once again for the Rangers, and finally went the distance tonight while also turning away 23 of the 26 shots he faced.
Much like last game, the Rangers got off to a slow start by only registering five total shots, while the Devils were able to double the Rangers up with 10 shots on Lundqvist. However, the second period kicked off the scoring as Reid Boucher got the Devils on the board just 2:34 into the middle frame, and gave the Devils an early 1-0 lead. Damon Severson took the initial shot from the point, and just as Lundqvist was reacting to it, Boucher sent the puck through his five hole with a nifty little redirection in the high slot.
Exactly three minutes after the opening goal, Raphael Diaz pulled the Rangers back even after J.T. Miller set him up off to the right side of the net. It was not only an excellent look by Miller to find Diaz open down low, but also an impressive play by Diaz to catch the puck in stride and rip a hard shot under the crossbar.
Diaz wouldn't stop there, though, as just ten minutes later, he tallied his second goal of the evening. His second goal also came on the power play as he unleashed an absolute cannon from the high slot, and wired the puck over Corey Schneider's shoulder. While Diaz clearly had a slow start to the season, he made this defensive race a little tougher with his big game tonight, especially with a big cut day coming up for the Rangers.
With the Rangers finally grabbing their first lead of the night, the Devils came storming back and drew two straight penalties late in the period. Both Oscar Lindberg and Chris Kreider were whistled down for penalties, and the Devils eventually converted just as the first penalty was set to expire late in the period. Stefan Matteau was the recipient of the tying goal after he found a loose puck sitting in the crease, and slammed it home to send the Devils into the intermission knotted up at two.
Much like the second period, the Devils had a quick start to the third period and took back the lead with a goal coming from Kyle Palmieri. Dan Girardi started it off with a failed clearing attempt which deflected right to Palmieri, and then he made it even worse by deflecting the shot past Lundqvist after attempting to block the shot. It took the Rangers a little while to get going following the go-ahead goal, but once they did, they struck back with two quick goals.
Derek Stepan was credited with both goals once of which was off of a great rush from Chris Kreider and the second was an early Christmas gift from Corey Schneider. That wound up closing out the scoring in the game, and the Devils were unable to find the tying goal after some late game pressure in the Rangers zone.
As mentioned earlier, the Rangers are expected to make a significant amount of cuts at some point tomorrow, which should give us a better idea of where this roster is heading. There will be plenty of tough decisions ahead for the Rangers but they are decisions that need to be made. The Rangers will be back in action on Monday night as they play their second to last preseason game, which will be against the Philadelphia Flyers