Upcoming games: @ Devils, March 6, 7:00 p.m.; @ Senators, March 8, 7:30 p.m.; @ Blackhawks, March 9, 8:30 p.m.; Islanders, March 11, 7:00 p.m.
New Jersey Devils (77 points, 6th place, 36-24-5)
Martin Brodeur and Henrik Lundqvist will be anxious to keep their creases empty as they each have a shutout in the season series that has the Rangers 2-2 against the Devils. The Rangers won 2-0 on February 27 led by Lundqvist and goals from Carl Hagelin and an empty netter by Ryan Callahan. The Devils have hit a rocky patch going 5-4-1 in their last ten games. After a dominating 5-0 win over the Capitals on Friday in which captain Zach Parise scored a hat trick, they couldn’t find the net on Sunday. They were shutout 1-0 by the Islanders. The Devils suffered a scare when Parise was hit by a Milan Jurcina shot. Results from the X-Rays came back negative and the forward is expected to remain in the lineup. Travis Zajac and Henrik Tallinder remain on injured reserve.
Ottawa Senators (76 points, 7th place, 34-25-8)
The Senators are 2-1 against the Rangers this season. Back on January 12, they shutout the Rangers 3-0 led by Jason Spezza’s two goal performance. Craig Anderson made 34 saves in his first shutout of the season to snap the Rangers five game win streak. Anderson has been put on injured reserve with a lacerated right hand with no timetable for a return. Rookie Robin Lehner has stepped into the crease allowing six goals resulting in two losses despite stopping an onslaught of shots. They lost 4-2 to the Florida Panthers on Sunday. The Sens are 6-3-1 over their last ten games. Milan Michalek leads the team with 29 goals while Speeza leads with 72 points. Defenseman Erik Karlsson continues to impress putting up a career high 66 points so far this season and a +13. This is the last meeting of the season between the two teams.
Chicago Blackhawks (79 points, 6th place, 36-24-7)
The Blackhawks beat the Rangers 4-2 back on February 16 after the Blueshirts came out sluggish and allowed four goals in the first period. Chicago is 7-3 over their last ten games and in the midst of a three game winning streak. They have had a season of interesting streaks bouncing from losing nine straight to winning four straight and so on. They beat the Red Wings 2-1 at Joe Louis Arena on Sunday. Patrick Kane scored the eventual game winner late in the second period while Ray Emery made 23 saves, continuing his recent surge of solid play in net. Winger Patrick Sharp has four points in his last two games. The Hawks have been without their captain Jonathan Toews for the last few games due to an upper body injury, most likely a concussion.
New York Islanders (65 points, 13th place, 28-29-9)
The Rangers have dominated the season series going 3-1. The Isles came out on top 4-3 winning in a shootout in a wild game back on February 24. Both P.A. Parenteau and Matt Moulson netted a pair of goals in the win while Evgeni Nabokov made 33 saves and three saves in the shootout. The Islanders ended a three game losing streak by winning two straight games this weekend. After edging past the powerhouse Boston Bruins 3-2 on Saturday, they shut out the Devils 1-0 on Sunday. Kyle Okposo scored the winning goal. Anders Nilsson made 24 saves en route to his first career NHL win and made history as the first Islanders goalie to record a shutout for his first win. After a hot February posting a 6-0-1 record with their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport and being selected goalie of the month, the Isles recalled the goaltender. The Islanders are five points behind the Winnipeg Jets for eighth place, the final playoff spot.