njdtv MyDevils Account

Zajac: Stadium Series should bring playoff feel

Tuesday, 11.26.2013 / 9:27 AM / News
Share with your Friends

Zajac: Stadium Series should bring playoff feel
New Jersey Devils center Travis Zajac knows there will be plenty at stake when his team faces the New York Rangers at Yankee Stadium as part of the Coors Light NHL Stadium Series.
Zajac and the Devils will battle the Rangers in the Stadium Series at Yankee Stadium on Jan. 26.
NEWARK, N.J. -- When the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers face off at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, Jan. 26 as part of the Coors Light NHL Stadium Series, fans can expect a playoff-like atmosphere on a grand scale.

At least that's how Devils forward Travis Zajac would prefer to label the matchup scheduled for 12:30 p.m. ET (NBC, CBC).

"These are playoff games every time we play against each other and no matter where the game might be," Zajac told NHL.com. "Especially now since we only play them five times a year. They're special games and we're both battling right now to make the playoffs and I assume it'll be that way in January as well."

Zajac acknowledged how much he's looking forward to playing outdoors in the Bronx.

"It's going to be amazing," he said. "We've watched the games the past few years and we've always talked about being a part of something like that and now to get the chance to play, not only outside, but against the Rangers at Yankee Stadium. It'll be a fun event and I'm definitely going to enjoy it."

The game will actually mark the first time Zajac will skate competitively outdoors since his days growing up in Winnipeg in minus-30 degree temperatures.

"I think I was 10 the last time I skated outside with friends and it was cold," Zajac said. "Hopefully, the game at Yankee Stadium won't be that frigid.

"We used to walk down the street and there was an outdoor rink a couple blocks away. We either got dropped off after school or walked over there when we got home. We'd skate outdoors until it was time to come home for dinner."

Zajac is also looking forward to finally getting an opportunity to see the inside of Yankee Stadium.

"I've been [with the Devils] for eight years and never been to Yankee Stadium," he said. "I'm kind of excited about that. You hear all about it and I love following the Yankees, but I've never been to a game. It'll be nice to see what the inside of the stadium looks like."

While Zajac isn't counted on for scoring in bunches, coach Peter DeBoer knows he can rely on his 28-year-old center to do most everything else.

"Travis has never for me been a player about the numbers," DeBoer said. "It's the intangibles he brings. For the 20 minutes he's on the ice, you're comfortable as a coach that good things are happening. You'll have more opportunities to score than the other team will have. You're going to manage the puck well because he's going to win faceoffs and kill penalties. He's a guy that's easy to play."

In 41 career games against the Rangers, Zajac has 10 goals, 21 points and a plus-5 rating.

What makes the Devils-Rangers rivalry unique in the eyes of DeBoer?

"I think when you live in this community, you realize you have lifelong fans of both teams that grow up, a lot of times, in the same household and that's very rare," DeBoer said. "You don't get that situation unless you have two major teams within a metropolitan area, so I think that's what makes this rivalry unique."

The Rangers and Devils have been separated by two goals or less in 16 of their last 23 meetings. The Rangers are 23-11-3 against the Devils since 2007-08, dating back to a 2-0 win on Oct. 25, 2007. Henrik Lundqvist is 23-11-2 with seven shutouts in 35 games over that span.

Devils goalie Martin Brodeur is 48-30-20 with nine shutouts in 98 career games against the Rangers.

"I know Marty really gets fired up for these games [against the Rangers], as he does for all games," DeBoer said. "But there's also great tradition here with the two teams with some of the games they've played and some of the playoff series they've had,"

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mikemorrealeNHL

Author: Mike G. Morreale | NHL.com Staff Writer




1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52


J. Jagr 82 24 43 16 67
P. Elias 65 18 35 -4 53
T. Zajac 80 18 30 3 48
A. Henrique 77 25 18 3 43
M. Zidlicky 81 12 30 -3 42
M. Ryder 82 18 16 -6 34
A. Greene 82 8 24 3 32
E. Gelinas 60 7 22 -3 29
D. Zubrus 82 13 13 1 26
R. Clowe 43 7 19 -10 26
C. Schneider 16 15 12 .921 1.97
M. Brodeur 19 14 6 .901 2.51


(c) New Jersey Devils 2014 - All Rights Reserved
newjerseydevils.com is the official web site of the New Jersey Devils, a member team of the National Hockey League ("NHL"). NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2013 New Jersey Devils and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

Privacy Policy | AdChoices | Advertise With Us | Contact Us | Terms of UseEmploymentNHL.com Terms of Use |  Site Map