BATTLE of the HUDSON - IV
I - Dec. 20, NYR 4 - NJD 1
II - Jan. 3, NJD 4 - NYR 3; S.O.
III - Feb. 7, NJD 1 - NYR 0
Devils lead series 2-1
New Jersey Devils
NEW YORK RANGERS
MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
33rd Street at 7th Avenue
No team has defeated the Rangers three times this season. The Devils are shooting to become the first. In our last two meetings against the Devils, the Blueshirts lost a 4-3 shoot-out, then got stymied by Martin Brodeur 1-0 on February 7th. If I was worrisome of the Devils before, I find them more so now. New Jersey made their deadline move. They targeted Minnesota's defenseman; Marek Zidlicky; and got him. Did the Devils pay too much for him? No - Because the Devils have money problems that dwarf the salary cap right now and needed to rid themselves of some bodies to make the trade fit.
The move bolstered and added depth to New Jersey's already well playing young corp of blue liners with a veteran. Having played for Jacques LeMaire before, he'll be in fine tune with the Devils' ways. And, the 35 year old defenseman can score too. He has 38 points this season off 14 goals and 24 assists. And personally, I find this troublesome for the Rangers as I've been saying since returning from the All-Star break - Here Come the Devils!
Three of the last four Ranger games have gone beyond regulation time. There were two overtime wins over Columbus and Buffalo, and one shoot-out loss to the Islanders. And somewhere in between was a shut-out loss against Pittsburgh. That's just a taste of what's in store for March. The schedule will be getting tight; real right; as the Rangers will be playing seventeen games in thirty days.
This season is going to come down to stamina and minimizing mistakes; not Rick Nash. So, with the way New Jersey has handled us lately, I'd like for the Rangers to start getting on with this season again with who they have, and get back to grinding and playing defense. The trade deadline has come and gone without the Blueshirts making a major move. So the Rangers are just going to have to bear down and score goals on their own.
This is a statement game. It's a game for these players. That's how I see it.