The Rangers return to the Garden ice tonight at 7:30 pm to play the New Jersey Devils for the fourth time this season. The Blueshirts won the first two games by a combined score of 9-3 and lost the third 8-5 in a complete headshaker at the Rock.
Where We Are: Who knows? It is the first game after the Xmas break so the team that comes out on the ice could be very different than the one that limped off of it after blowing a four goal lead on Tuesday. Or at least I hope it will be ...
Where They Are: The Devils came back from break last night with a 1-0 loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jersey now hasn't scored a goal in their last seven regulation periods. Jamie Langenbrunner and Travis Zajac both missed empty nets and the Devs had a reaaaaally close call go against them as Mark Eaton kicked a puck out of the goal just before it crossed the line.
Who To Watch For: The usual suspects Zach Parise, Hepatitis Elias and Jamie Langenbrunner are always dangerous against the Rangers. Langenbrunner, in fact, is one of the few players on either team who seems to really play with a chip on his shoulder - he really doesn't like the Rangers and I can respect that. Scott Clemmensen has been amazing but keep an eye out at Goalie Post to see if he will start the second half of the back-to-back. Kevin Weekes is still their backup but he allowed four goals in two periods during the Blueshirts 5-2 win over the Devs earlier this season.
What To Watch For: If reports are true and Aaron Voros will take a seat to Petr Prucha, watch Pru battle to prove he belongs yet again. When he came back last time, he was one of the best Rangers on the ice for all three games he played in - there is something to be said for playing with motivation.
What We'll (Hopefully) See: It would be nice for Mexican't Scott Gomez to play the way he did in the playoffs last season against his former team when he simply dominated them (but don't hold your breath). There are no fighters worth speaking of on the Devils but you can be sure that David Clarkson will try to incite something. Idiot. Should it come down to it, hopefully Colton Orr will knock him out like he did to Todd Fedoruk way back when.
Also Check Out: The solid Fire & Ice, my fellow NY Times Hockey Night in Blogdom In Lou We Trust and Rich Chere's MSM blog.
As always, I recommend people check out Sam Weinman's Ranger Report for up-to-the-minute updates on our boys.