NEW YORK (AP) – A scoring surge helped the New York Rangers bury an area rival in their most recent time out. Following that with another big effort versus another area foe isn’t out of the question.
The Rangers look to win a third consecutive game this season against the NHL-worst New Jersey Devils while sending them to their longest slide in 10 years Wednesday night at Prudential Center.
New York (21-14-2) is 4-1-1 in its last six, and coming off its second seven-goal outburst during the stretch.
The Rangers overcame an early deficit and scored six unanswered goals to rout the New York Islanders 7-2 on Monday, hours after the Northeast was hit with a major early-winter blizzard. Despite the offensive barrage and a 52-20 shots advantage, coach John Tortorella wasn’t pleased.
“I thought we were sloppy,” he said. “I don’t care what the shot totals were. I thought we turned the puck over too much. Maybe it’s the game after Christmas, but we certainly have to shore ourselves up as far as our turnovers and our situational play.”
The Rangers have an opportunity to do that against New Jersey (9-24-2), mired in a 1-10-0 stretch while losing five in a row for the second time in that span.
The Devils, who have scored once in each of the last five games, haven’t dropped six in a row since Nov. 2-14, 2000. Their current slide has also included a coaching change with rookie John MacLean replaced by Jacques Lemaire, who came out of retirement Thursday for his third stint with the club.
The results haven’t changed, as New Jersey followed a 5-1 loss to the Islanders on Thursday with Sunday’s 4-1 home defeat to Toronto.
The Rangers have won both meetings with the Devils this season, including 3-0 on Nov. 5 in New Jersey.
Brandon Dubinsky has four goals in the last three games – all wins – against the Devils, matching his production from the previous 19 matchups. The center found the net twice in New Jersey last month.
He leads New York with 15 goals and 30 points after scoring and assisting on Matt Gilroy’s first of the game Monday.
Gilroy, the 2009 Hobey Baker Award winner with Boston University, appears to be solidifying his spot in the lineup after scoring two goals against the Islanders. The defenseman had been scratched for 15 games this season.
“Even when I sat him out and we played the other six, we didn’t feel he was that far away,” Tortorella told the team’s official website. “Right now I think he is one of our six (defensemen). He has hung in there and done the right things to be ready to play and has taken advantage of the opportunity.”
It’s unclear if the Rangers will have to contend with Martin Brodeur or Johan Hedberg in net for New Jersey.
Brodeur was pulled Sunday after allowing three goals on 14 shots through two periods. Hedberg made six of seven stops the rest of the way and is 0-3-0 with a 4.19 goals-against average in five games this month.
Brodeur has started every game during this slide, compiling a 4.89 GAA while being chased twice.
Both netminders have lost to the Rangers this season with Hedberg making 17 saves on Nov. 5.
© 2010 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.