The New Jersey Devils do not score often, but two of their better offensive displays this season came against the New York Rangers.
Nine of New Jersey’s 46 goals this season have come against the Rangers, and the Devils are hoping to turn in another productive night against their rival Thursday night in Newark, N.J.
New Jersey’s 46 goals are tied with Buffalo for fewest in the East Division and the Devils have scored more than three goals four times. On Jan. 19, Jack Hughes scored two goals in a 4-3 win at the Rangers and on Feb. 16, the Devils scored three times in the final 9:17 of a 5-2 win at Madison Square Garden.
Since their last win over the Rangers, the Devils are 2-6-0 in their last eight games with four of those losses by one goal. The Devils are on their third three-game losing streak of the season after taking a 2-1 loss to the New York Islanders on Tuesday night in front of their first home crowd of the season.
“I think that there comes a point where you can’t be satisfied with playing well and losing,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said. “Determination has to lead to more goals. I think the one thing I said is we’ve struggled scoring. Our success will come when we hit that three mark more often in games.”
The Devils were 14 seconds away from getting blanked before Miles Wood scored his seventh goal of the season. Wood leads the Devils in goals while Hughes has two goals in his last 14 games and Kyle Palmieri has scored only three times this season.
The Rangers are 4-2-0 in their last six games since the last meeting with the Devils and have scored 20 goals since. The Rangers rebounded from a lackluster 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins on Sunday when they posted a 3-2 home win over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday in their final game before a six-game road trip.
Pavel Buchnevich scored on a breakaway 28 seconds in and added an assist against Buffalo while Chris Kreider netted the game-winner midway through the second on a night the Rangers were held to a season-low 19 shots on goal.
“Even though we got that early goal, we didn’t look sharp for the most part,” Rangers coach David Quinn said. “But I liked how we just managed to understand what we were dealing with going into the third period. I thought we just kind of managed the game. Some nights you’re going to have it, and you got to find a way to win, and I thought we did a good job of that.”
Buchnevich and Kreider are amongst the reasons for the Rangers’ recent success as both players enter the road trip on decent rolls of late. Buchnevich has seven points (three goals, four assists) in his last seven games while Kreider has scored six of his team-leading 10 goals in over his last seven games.
The hot streaks of Kreider and Buchnevich are coming while Artemi Panarin is out due to personal reasons. Panarin has missed the last four games but has been skating on his own and is considered day-to-day.
The Rangers also could get Kaapo Kakko back from a five-game absence after he was removed from the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list on Tuesday.
–Field Level Media