The New York Rangers' recent road struggles have lasted for more than two weeks. Their problems against the New Jersey Devils on the road have gone on for a lot longer.
The slumping Rangers look to end a five-game skid away from Madison Square Garden, including shutouts in their last two road games, when they travel to Continental Airlines Arena for the first time this season to face the first-place Devils on Tuesday night.
New York ended a season-high seven-game losing streak with a 4-1 home victory over Washington on Saturday, but the Rangers haven't won on the road since Dec. 14. The last four defeats during their skid came away from MSG.
While the Rangers will be looking to end their current road slide Tuesday, they've been unable to find a way to be successful at the Meadowlands for a long time. New York is 3-17-1 in its last 21 visits to Continental Airlines Arena since the start of the 1997-98 season.
The Rangers haven't dropped six straight on the road since a seven-game slide from Dec. 31, 2001-Jan. 17, 2002.
New York, blanked by the New York Islanders and Ottawa in their previous two road games, have not scored in a 151-minute, 43-second stretch of road play. On Tuesday, they'll likely face Martin Brodeur, who has two shutouts in his last three games - all wins.
Brodeur has more victories against the Rangers than any other opponent, going 34-15-0 with 15 ties and a 2.13 goals-against average. He's 23-5 with three ties against New York at home, where he has recorded all six of his shutouts in the series.
Brodeur, third all-time in shutouts with 86, tops the NHL this season with six.
Despite their problems at New Jersey, the Rangers hope to begin a turnaround following their victory over the Capitals. New York's goal total in that game was its highest since its losing streak began Dec. 16.
"It isn't easy when you care about the team and the fans," Rangers captain Jaromir Jagr said. "I was kind of scared. I (just) wanted the losing streak to be over."
New York showed life in areas other than on offense, as forward Brendan Shanahan fought Washington enforcer Donald Brashear in the third period after Brashear took liberties with Jagr.
"When your leaders do things like that, clearly it demonstrates that they're willing to pay any price to win," Rangers coach Tom Renney said. "I think that lends itself nicely to making sure that we don't get ourselves into that kind of streak again."
Henrik Lundqvist is likely to be in net for the Rangers on Tuesday. Lundqvist has allowed fewer than three goals in each of his last three starts, and ended a personal four-game skid by blanking Washington for more than 57 minutes.
The second-year player is 4-0-1 with a 1.78 GAA in five starts against the Devils.
"We have great scorers on this team," Lundqvist said. "We just had to be patient and keep working hard."
New Jersey defeated the Islanders 2-0 on Saturday for its third consecutive victory. The Devils are 5-1-1 in their last seven games.
"It was pretty exciting hockey," New Jersey coach Claude Julien said. "If it were not for the goaltending, it would have been a different outcome."
Brodeur made 29 saves and Patrik Elias scored an empty net goal with 10 seconds left to extend his point streak to six games. He has five goals and five assists in that stretch.
The key for New Jersey over the last seven contests has been special teams. The Devils are 10-for-32 on the power play during that span, while allowing one goal in 25 short-handed situations.
New York, though, has killed off all 14 of its opponents' power plays in the last three games.
The Rangers, who lead the season series with the Devils 2-1, return to the Meadowlands on Jan. 16 for the next meeting.
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