After a hot start, the Devils have crashed back to Earth, and sit two points ahead of the Rangers in the standings, although the Rangers have a game in hand. In the month of March, the Devils have struggled mightily, posting a record of 3-4-2. For comparisons sake, the Rangers have a record of 5-4-0 in that span. This is one of those four point swing games, and it would benefit the Rangers in the long run to win this in regulation and prevent the Devils from getting points.
As we’ve touched on in the past, the Devils use two separate forechecking systems. In the early going the Devils play a 2-1-2 forecheck, the same system that the Rangers play. This strategy is designed to create turnovers from sending two forecheckers deep and having a roamer around the high slot to capitalize on bad passes. Once the Devils get a lead, they switch forechecking strategies to a 1-2-2 hybrid trap. This strategy is designed to disrupt offensive breakouts and clog up the neutral zone. This is actually very common in the NHL nowadays.
In the defensive zone, the Devils –much like the Rangers– play a shot-blocking collapsing box style. However, unlike the Rangers, the Devils’ wingers have the freedom to attack the point if the matchup is right (i.e.: When a slow-footed defenseman is out on the ice). They also rely on their goaltender a bit, and Johan Hedberg has proven capable of backstopping this club that is without Martin Brodeur.
On special teams, the Devils and the Rangers are similar. The Devils play your standard umbrella powerplay, although unlike the Rangers, they will not switch to a 1-3-1 at specific times. On the penalty kill, the Devs play a rotation between a box and a diamond, depending on puck location and the setup of the opposition. Expect a diamond when the Rangers run an umbrella, and a box if the Rangers switch to a 1-3-1.
For more on Torts’ systems, click here.
2012-2013 Records: Hurricanes (15-11-1), Rangers (13-12-2)
NYR Leading Scorer: Rick Nash (9-14-23)
NJD Leading Scorer: Patrick Elias (9-18-27)
NYR Goaltender: Henrik Lundqvist (24 GP, 2.24 GAA, .921 SV%)
NJD Goaltender: Johan Hedberg (16 GP, 2.71 GAA, .888 SV%)
Broadcast Info: MSG, 7pm
Torts’ post-game interview from Monday: