Devils, Rangers, New Jersey Devils, NHL
(Photo by Mark Fischgrund - JSN)

Another chapter in the Hudson River Rivalry, New Jersey Devils fall to blue shirts 3-1 at Prudential Center

Another night and chapter in what is argued as the best rivalry in hockey between the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils. The Rangers came into the game having lost their last two games, one in overtime, however they've play well going 6-3-1 in the last ten. New Jersey on the other hand has lost the last three games while going 2-7-1 during their previous ten. As we know all to well in this Hudson River Rivalry is that records never matter when these two faceoff due to the hatred between them.

New York Controlled the pace early on in the game holding a 7-2 shot advantage over New Jersey to open up the first. Yet it was the home ice team that would get the lucky break and take control with the early lead. Yegor Sharangovich netted his 20th goal of the year by blocking a Jacob Trouba pass in the offensive zone, and taking it on a breakaway goal against a sprawling Alexander Georgiev just over the glove.

Sharangovich's night would be one that was short lived as he got thrown out of the game for instigating a fight. Braden Schneider to his credit laid a clean hit on Jesper Boqvist that Yegor took exception to. You can admire him for standing up for his teammate but now the Devils would have to play the next fifty minutes of hockey without one of their best players. Due to the priority of NHL player safety, these are the kinds of things they're trying to eliminate. I understand the caution but if both players are willing participants, you need to let them settle it on the ice.

So the instigating penalty that was served by Andreas Johnsson would bring out the 4th best powerplay in the NHL for the first time of the night. This is where the Rangers would counter punch and tie the game to quiet the Prudential Center home crowd. Ryan Strome wristed a snap shot after a beautiful tic-tac-toe play between Chris Kreider, Artemi Panarin, and himself that ended up with him taking advantage in the low slot over Nico Daws' blocker.

Pavel Zacha would take a bad holding penalty in the defensive zone towards the end of the first, giving the hot New York powerplay another opportunity. Once again this was costly for the Devils as the Rangers would capitalize on the man advantage twice in the first period giving them the upper hand after the first twenty minutes. Chris Kreider would be the beneficiary this time around as he got position down low and tipped in an Artemi Panarin feed for his 47th on the year. It was Kreider's 25th on the powerplay setting the Rangers single season record for powerplay goals which is an amazing accomplishment with all the great names that have played for that franchise.

When the first period came to a close after that; the Rangers ended up with a shot on goal advantage of 13-7 over the Devils, coming out of the gates strong. Not much would go on in the middle frame as there was just seven total shots on net between the two teams. New Jersey would actually out-shoot New York 6-1 throughout the period but made nothing of it. However in the middle of the second period; a tough break would happen for the Devils, after Jimmy Vesey hit Braden Schneider and went down with what appeared to be a left lower body injury.

With the game still close as the teams started the final period, the first five minutes would prove to be more crucial than normal. Justin Braun would get a big goal for the blue shirts as his 6th tally of the year doubled his team's lead early in the third. Braun buried a one-timer from the left side of the blue line after a setup by Braden Schneider to score his first goal with his new team as Nico Daws got a piece of the frozen rubber but not enough.

That would end up proving to be enough as the New York Rangers beat the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center 3-1. Tonight's game was a defensive struggle that saw the Devils out-shoot the Rangers 21-17 shots on goal, but New York just made the most of their opportunities. While dropping yet another one at home; the New Jersey Devils are now dangerously close to finishing in last place in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, the New York Rangers on the other hand solidify their 2nd place spot in the Metropolitan Division chasing Carolina and Florida who are the only teams ahead of them in the conference.

What's Next for Devils?

The Devils will hope to end the losing streak at home on Thursday when the worst team in the NHL comes to Newark in the Montreal Canadiens. Montreal has only 49 points on the season; yet New Jersey has only five more points than the Canadiens as Thursday at 7 o'clock will be a toilet bowl battle in the Eastern Conference.