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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, March 22nd (All times Eastern)

New York Rangers (38-29-4) at New Jersey Devils (30-27-13), 7 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The New Jersey Devils will try to make up some ground in the Eastern Conference playoff race on Saturday when they host the rival New York Rangers at Prudential Center.

New Jersey enters this game five points behind Columbus for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and seven points in back of the Rangers for third place in the Metropolitan Division. The top three teams in each division earn automatic bids to the postseason.

Saturday's contest marks the fifth and final regular-season meeting between the Devils and Rangers. New Jersey won the first three encounters before the Blueshirts posted a 7-3 rout on Jan. 26 in an outdoor game at Yankee Stadium. The Devils led that game in the Bronx by a 3-1 score before New York scored six unanswered goals.

The Devils were the designated home team in the outdoor battle but the Rangers have not fared well in Newark of late, losing four of the past five games staged at the Prudential Center. New York has claimed five of nine overall in the series.

New Jersey had lost three straight in regulation before coming through with an overtime win Thursday against visiting Minnesota. It was the second test of a crucial five-game homestand for the Devils, who improved to 17-9-7 as the host this season.

Andy Greene's goal two minutes into overtime lifted the Devils to the much- needed victory over the Wild and spoiled Zach Parise's return to the Prudential Center in the process.

Patrik Elias and Adam Henrique assisted on Greene's game-winner -- the third helper of the night for both -- while Jaromir Jagr, Michael Ryder and Mark Fayne all scored to support a 20-save effort from Devils goaltender Cory Schneider.

Parise, who captained the Devils to the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals and spent his first seven NHL seasons with New Jersey, potted one of three Minnesota goals in the third period as the Wild overcame a 2-0 deficit to notch a point.

The Devils will go with Martin Brodeur in net on Saturday. Brodeur surrendered six goals in two periods against the Rangers in the rout at Yankee Stadium, but seems confident he can help Jersey put that game in the past when the clubs reconvene indoors.

"When we play in a regular environment, we do well," Brodeur said on Friday. "We're like indoor cats."

The Rangers have won two straight and three of their last four games and are coming off an important win Friday night in Columbus. New York scored three times in the third period of the win over the Blue Jackets, who saw former Columbus star Rick Nash return to Nationwide Arena for the first time.

There was much hype surrounding Nash's first game as a visitor at Nationwide Arena, but the contest also had playoff implications.

With the win, the Rangers moved into third place in the Metropolitan Division, two points ahead of Columbus and one behind second-place Philadelphia. The Blue Jackets, however, have played one fewer game and the Flyers, who host St. Louis on Saturday, hold two games in hand over the Rangers. Columbus is idle on Saturday before visiting the New York Islanders on Sunday.

Henrik Lundqvist made 25 saves for New York, which will try to complete a perfect three-game road trip on Saturday. The Blueshirts are 22-13-0 as the guest this season compared to a 16-16-4 mark at Madison Square Garden.

Already showered with boos, Nash, who was selected first overall by Columbus in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft and dealt to the Rangers in July 2012, stoked the fans' ire even more late in the second period.

The former face of the Blue Jackets drove hard to the crease and the puck went into the net after a collision with Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky at 17:06. The referee immediately waved off the goal, ruling Nash made incidental contact with the Columbus goalie.

Nash then got to his feet and incited a melee by punching Bobrovsky.

Seeking retribution for him going after Bobrovsky, Matt Calvert engaged in fisticuffs with Nash at the start of the third period.

"I wouldn't have expected to push a goalie to start a fight and have a fight myself. I didn't expect that," Nash said when asked about how he thought the game might unfold.

After this evening's battle in the Garden State, the Rangers will return home for two straight at MSG. The homestand begins Tuesday against Phoenix before the Flyers visit Manhattan for a Metro Division showdown on Thursday.

03/22 10:48:30 ET

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  • ACC: NC State at Georgia Tech

    Saturday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Arkansas at Florida

    Saturday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA: Waste Management Phoenix Open

    Saturday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Big 10: Michigan at Michigan State

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Kentucky at Missouri

    Tonight at 9:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • NHL: Hurricanes vs. St. Louis

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • ACC: NC State at Georgia Tech

    Saturday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-FM

  • NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at NY Rangers

    Saturday at 7:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
NBA
1st
ORL 13
MIL 20
 
1st
IND 8
NYK 17
 
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MEM
DEN
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LAL
CHI
Final
PROV 83
DEP 72
2nd
RUTG 36
MSU 52
 
1st
ARMY 11
BU 18
 
1st
RFLSH 18
BRY 16
 
1st
MERC 27
CHAT 15
 
1st
LIU 19
CCST 18
 
1st
TOWS 11
COC 9
 
1st
UMASS 24
DAY 21
 
1st
FUR 11
ETST 12
 
1st
ODU 9
FIU 8
 
1st
RMU 15
FD 6
 
1st
CHAR 15
FATL 17
 
1st
LIB 6
HIGH 20
 
1st
UNF 23
KNST 6
 
1st
FLGC 21
LIP 15
 
1st
OSU 11
MD 5
 
1st
Terriers 7
MNTER 14
 
1st
STET 15
NKENTUCKY 6
 
1st
WAGN 11
SHU 16
 
1st
GMAS 6
STLU 9
 
1st
JVU 2
USCU 4
 
1st
VMI 8
WCU 19
 
1st
LATU 13
WKENT 13
 
1st
UNCG 12
WOFF 6
 
1st
DET 16
YOUNG 4
 
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APP
 
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EILL
 
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GHND
HC
 
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UCONN
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DEN
 
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MAST
 
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ILLCH
 
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JVST
 
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MARS
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RIDE
 
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SIUE
 
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TENT
 
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WEBER
 
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LAMON
 
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IDST
 
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KENT
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GONZ
PORT
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UAB
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UMKC
 
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WLVRN
CHIST
 
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USC
COL
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UCI
CPSL
 
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CSNO
HAW
 
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PAC
PEPP
 
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SDU
SCU
 
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UCD
UCSB
 
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UCLA
UTAH
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PORST
MONT
 
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SACST
MNTST
 
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CSFU
LBSU
 
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GAELS
LMU
 
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WASU
CAL
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BYU
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1st
NYI 0
BOS 0
 
1st
NYR 0
MON 0
 
1st
PHI 1
WIN 1
 
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TOR
ARI
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FLA
CLB
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OTT
DAL
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TAM
DET
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STL
NAS
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CAL
MIN
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EDM
BUF
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SJS
ANA