|4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ET21:00 BRT, March 9, 2019
Madison Square Garden, New York, New York Attendance: 17,386
Rangers aim to halt skid in matchup vs. Devils
New Jersey Devils at New York Rangers
- The Rangers have won both meetings between the teams this season, both in regulation -- 4-3 in Newark in January and 5-2 at Madison Square Garden last month. NYR has not won three straight games over the Devils in regulation since the 2014-15 season (three straight).
- The Devils have dropped four straight games (0-3-1), scoring only five goals. In New Jersey's last eight games (2-5-1), the team is 0-for-18 with the man-advantage while surrendering five power-play goals in 23 chances.
- The Rangers are also struggling with the power play, going 0-for-15 in their last five contests (0-2-3). NYR has been strong on the penalty kill of late, allowing no power-play goals in 14 times shorthanded in four March games
- MacKenzie Blackwood has allowed two goals or fewer in nine of his 13 starts; in two games since his last call-up, Blackwood has a .952 save percentage (62 shots, 59 saves). Blackwood's season save percentage is .931; Cory Schneider and Keith Kinkaid have combined for an .892 mark for New Jersey.
- Mike Zibanejad's next goal will be his career-high 28th this season, topping his total of a season ago. However, Zibanejad has gone four straight games without a point, matching his longest drought this season; he has not gone five straight games without a point since 2017-18 (eight straight).
- Based on current rosters, the Rangers have the NHL's youngest team, with an average age of 25 years, 243 days. The Devils have the second-youngest active group, with an average age of 25 years, 262 days. No other team has a roster averaging less than 26 years of age.
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The New York Rangers are on their longest skid of the season and frustration is setting in following an array of close losses.
The Rangers attempt to halt a season-high six-game losing streak Saturday night when they host the New Jersey Devils in the third meeting of the season between the Metropolitan Division rivals.
New York is 0-2-4 since its last win two weeks ago against the Devils in a 5-2 game. Each loss has been decided by two goals or fewer with two going to overtime and two being decided in the shootout.
The latest loss was a 3-2 shootout loss to Detroit on Thursday. The Rangers allowed one goal in the shootout, but Mika Zibanejad, Anthony DeAngelo and Pavel Buchnevich were unable to score in the shootout.
"I'm starting to get really sick and tired of standing here talking about how close we are," Zibanejad told reporters after the game. "We don't seem to find a way to win right now. It's starting to be harder to look for the good things, the fact that we're getting points. It's just really frustrating."
What's not frustrating for the Rangers is Buchnevich, who scored twice Thursday to raise his total to 15.
Another frustrating part of this losing streak is Zibanejad's recent struggles to score. While he leads the Rangers with 27 goals and 63 points, he only has one goal in his last nine games and New York is 2-3-4 in that stretch.
Overall New York is getting outscored 17-14 during regulation in this skid with one goal being an empty-net goal by Montreal on March 1. The Rangers are returning home following losses in Dallas and Detroit in games coach David Quinn felt the focus was off.
"I just feel over the last two games we haven't been as dialed in as we were in the previous four or five games since the trade deadline," Quinn told reporters. "We've got to get back to playing much more purposeful hockey if we're going to finish strong."
The Rangers have finished strong in winning the first two meetings from the Devils, who are on a five-game losing streak.
Zibanejad recorded a four-point night in New Jersey on Jan. 31 when the Rangers rallied from an early two-goal deficit in a 4-3 win. Two weeks ago, Ryan Strome, Chris Kreider and Jimmy Vesey scored in a three-goal first period in a 5-2 win.
The Devils head to New York with 59 points, the third-fewest points in the league. They also own 189 goals, the second-fewest in the East and have one goal in their last three games after getting outshot 35-25 and going 0-for-6 on the power play in a 3-0 loss to Washington in the opener of a six-game trip.
New Jersey was shutout for the fourth time and also dropped to 0-13-3 when getting held to one goal or fewer.
The Devils are on their second-longest losing streak of the season and during their last five games, they are getting outscored 14-5 and are 0-for-13 on the power play. New Jersey also is scoreless in its last 24 power play opportunities since the second period of a 4-1 win over Buffalo on Feb. 17.
If there was any good news for the Devils, it was the return of Kyle Palmieri. He returned from missing the previous four games with a lower-body injury and took three shots in 21:48.
"Tonight we had a good first (period), and the second kind of got a little helter-skelter and loose in our decisions," Palmieri told reporters.
While Palmieri returned, Nico Hischier (upper body) and Jesper Bratt (lower body) are expected to sit out Saturday. Defenseman Sami Vatanen (illness) sat out Friday but may play on Saturday.
--Field Level Media
Updated March 9, 2019