The Hudson River Rivalry is one of the best games of the hockey season, just based on how much the New Jersey Devils and the New York Rangers hate each other. This one had the makings for fireworks at the Prudential Center, given the history. The Devils would look to play spoiler as they're out of playoff contention. On the other hand, the Rangers came into Tuesday's game in 2nd place in the Metropolitan Division.
The blue shirts would strike first in this storied rivalry when Mika Zibanejad put a rebound shot in the back of the net for his 26th of the year and the 1-0 lead. Mika carried the puck in the zone, which got turned over, yet the Rangers stayed aggressive on the forecheck forcing a turnover themselves and turning it into a tight chance for the early lead in the seventh minute of the first.
Rangers looked to pour it on against their hated rival in their building early as they doubled their lead with Adam Fox's 10th goal of the season just before the fourteenth minute. New addition Andrew Copp got his first point with his new team when he won a faceoff in the Devils' zone that Mika picked up and found Fox on the right faceoff circle to beat Nico Daws with a wrist shot over his blocker. New York Rangers found themselves up 2-0 at the end of the period and enjoyed a three shot advantage over New Jersey as they seemed to dominate play in the first.
The second period looked more like the same as the Rangers controlled the pace early on again. New Jersey would get a lucky break and get onto the scoreboard bringing the home crowd back into the game. Ryan Graves put a slap shot on net that Igor Shesterkin initially stopped, but Tomas Tatar pushed on Shesterkin's pads with his stick, and the puck scooted to the back of the net. The NHL went back and forth multiple times on who earned the credit for the goal but ultimately gave it to Graves for his 6th of the season at the seven-minute mark of the second.
Devils would capitalize on the newfound momentum just a minute and fifteen seconds later when P.K. Subban hammered in a one-timer from the blue line to tie the game. After some great stops by Shesterkin, Ty Smith found Andreas Johnsson along the right boards who teed up Subban for the wicked one-timer that had to clear traffic in front.
Graves would get on the score sheet again, but Dawson Mercer would come up with the tie-breaking goal just short of the thirteen-minute mark for his 16th of the season. Mercer took advantage of a juicy rebound to the left of the net after Ryan Graves ripped a blast of a slap shot, giving Dawson the easy rebound opportunity with twelve minutes and forty seconds left in the period.
Timing was the night's theme as just thirty-three seconds later, Tomas Tatar was on the receiving end of a beautiful setup pass by Damon Severson that Tatar put home for his 12th of the year. Again the New Jersey Devils were aggressive on the forecheck, and after Tomas fired a shot wide from a sharp angle left of the net that left Severson with a chance to make something happen along the boards by the bench. Damon made good on with his pass and Tatar's re-direct to double the Devils lead while getting the crowd rocking.
This period wouldn't come to a close without more fireworks as Yegor Sharangovich ripped a wrist shot by Igor Shesterkin's low stick side for his 16th goal. Sharangovich took advantage of a Nico Hischier screen that cost Shesterkin as he could not find the puck as the Devils closed out the second with a 5-2 lead and five unanswered goals.
New York would stop the bleeding when Ryan Strome netted his 15th of the season on a deflection beating Nico Daws. However, it would prove too late, as almost six minutes later, Jack Hughes would score his 20th goal of the year on the power play and put the lead back to three. If that weren't enough, Jack Hughes would come back one minute and ten seconds later to put the game out of reach with a beautiful backhand that beat Alexandar Georgiev, who was in relief of Shesterkin to start the third. Chris Kreider would score his 42nd for the game's final goal in a 7-4 win for New Jersey.