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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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Scoreboard
Local
Final
UWGB 66
ECU 49
1st
CHA 20
LAC 27
 
1st
CHA 20
LAC 27
 
1st
CLE 21
ORL 14
 
1st
PHI 20
POR 24
 
7:30pm Tonight
TOR
PHO
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
NYK
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
IND
9:00pm Tonight
UTA
CHI
Final
UWGB 66
ECU 49
Final
WEBER 59
NEV 56
Final
FRES 52
EVAN 58
Final
KYST 88
PURD 79
Final
LSU 61
CLEM 64
Final
ALCOR 95
DILL 73
 
Final
CHIST 46
UGST 69
Final
DET 69
MDES 55
 
Final
ARZ 72
MIZZ 53
 
Final
INDST 61
PEAY 57
 
2nd
FLGC 39
MAR 23
 
2nd
LALAF 31
UWMIL 36
 
Half
ODU 28
GWEBB 26
 
1st
MD 25
ARST 31
 
1st
TOL 20
BUCK 6
 
1st
JMU 31
COL 19
 
1st
WINT 18
ETST 12
 
1st
GSOUT 21
FIU 18
 
1st
BST 20
GRAM 13
 
1st
APP 19
HAMP 12
 
1st
MAST 27
JVU 12
 
1st
XAV 36
MURST 21
 
1st
WAKE 23
NICST 12
 
1st
MSU 19
SCU 6
 
1st
LOU 17
SAV 0
 
1st
TENT 30
SELA 24
 
1st
VCU 13
VILL 14
 
1st
OU 21
WCU 30
 
7:30pm Tonight
IND
EWASH
8:00pm Tonight
ILL
BRO
8:00pm Tonight
MSST
CLAYST
 
8:00pm Tonight
BEL
LIP
 
8:00pm Tonight
TCU
MVSU
 
8:00pm Tonight
IOWA
PEPP
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
PVU
 
8:00pm Tonight
KU
RIDE
8:00pm Tonight
BAY
STEPH
 
8:00pm Tonight
INCWORD
A
 
8:30pm Tonight
USF
HAW
8:30pm Tonight
OKST
ORST
9:00pm Tonight
WYO
FAM
 
9:00pm Tonight
MARQ
YALE
 
9:00pm Tonight
CHAM
PITT
9:00pm Tonight
ILLST
SHU
9:00pm Tonight
NMST
STET
 
9:30pm Tonight
ISU
ALA
9:30pm Tonight
SDKST
CHADRON
 
9:30pm Tonight
NCOL
CCHR
 
9:30pm Tonight
OREG
MICH
10:00pm Tonight
SDU
WMICH
10:05pm Tonight
PORST
SIUE
11:00pm Tonight
AUB
TULSA
11:30pm Tonight
SDST
BYU
1st
NYI 0
PHI 0
 
1st
BOS 0
PIT 1
 
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
MIN
7:30pm Tonight
DET
OTT
1st
BUF 7
NYJ 0
 
8:30pm Tonight
NOS
BAL