Injuries and standings don’t diminish the excitement and importance of Saturday’s matchup between the Rangers and Devils across the Hudson River in Newark.
This just adds another layer to the rivalry game, with both teams going head-to-head for the first time since their first-round playoff clash.
Regardless, the first time since the Rangers lost two preseason contests to the Devils matters.
The Rangers, who will be without Adam Fox and Filip Sytil for five games in a row, will fight to further secure their spot in first place and repair their damaged pride from last spring’s blowout loss to the Devils. . In the metropolitan sector.
The Devils, who will be without Nico Hischier for nine games in a row and Timo Meier for the second time, hope to reaffirm their dominance over the Rangers and move up from fourth place in the division.
“I think it’s definitely going to add something,” Jimmy Vesey said of facing the Devils, who bounced back from an 0-2 series deficit last season and eliminated the Rangers in seven games. “This is our first real game against them since the playoffs. A team we’ll likely face again in the playoffs in the next few years. This is definitely a big game or a featured game on the schedule.”
The Rangers and Devils missed the start of the season due to injuries, but it’s possible that both clubs will have their star players back in the lineup in time for this anticipated matchup.
Jack Hughes is considered a game-time decision for the Devils after the 2019 No. 1 overall pick missed the past five games with a shoulder injury.
The same can be said for Igor Shesterkin, the Rangers’ No. 1 goaltender, who has missed the past four games due to lingering issues.
Blueshirts head coach Peter Laviolette could not confirm whether Shesterkin is okay with him leaving and said he is still waiting for a status report from the staff, but the Russian netminder is at least aware of Jonathan Quick’s It seems possible to dress as a reserve if he is healthy enough.
“They’re a fast team, they play fast,” Laviolette said of the Devils. “I said maybe from the exhibition games we’re going to have to be ready to skate, ready to compete. Keep those things in front of us. Exhibition games are really 80 percent early on. I think it was our lineup. I think we did a good job in that game, but we needed to get a little more results.
“Now we’re in the regular season. Here we go. They’re in our division. They had a really good year last year. They need to be sharp. They’re on octane. He’s high, puts a lot of pucks on the net, defends very well and plays with pace.”
The Rangers expect to see a desperate Devils team, especially considering the fact that New Jersey has lost four of their last six meetings.
The Devils are 5-2 against the Penguins, their most perfect win of the season, and will look to build on this win.
The scouting report for the Rangers on the Devils as they return to action after a five-day break isn’t that simple.
Some rust is to be expected, but the Rangers were on a 10-game winning streak before the schedule was paused.
The 2023-24 season may only be five and a half weeks old, but the scope of the Rangers vs. Devils game is always much wider than meets the eye.
“We have to be able to start early,” Ryan Lindgren said. He said after getting hit hard into the boards in the previous game, he’s good to go. “The way we’ve played so far is we’ve been playing with good speed heading north. We’ve got to make sure we continue that.
“They’re a fast team that likes to get the odd rush, so we had to be smart with the puck and pick up where we left off.”