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GAME: New Jersey Devils (36-22-11-2) at New York Rangers (25-34-7-6).
TIME: Monday, 7 p.m. EST.
Though they may be a bit down, the New Jersey Devils have always been able to get up for the New York Rangers.
The Devils, knowing they may have blown their chance to win the Atlantic Division, look to regroup as they try to continue their domination of the Rangers.
New Jersey had two games last week against the team it's chasing for the division lead and lost both, losing 2-1 in Philadelphia on Saturday after falling 3-1 at home to the Flyers on Tuesday.
Those defeats, along with the point the Flyers picked up for Sunday's tie at Pittsburgh, dropped the Devils nine points out of first place. The only thing in New Jersey's favor is that it has three games in hand over Philadelphia.
"Right now it's in their hands," Devils center Scott Gomez said. "They hold their own destiny. There's still a lot of hockey left. They have a lot of tough hockey games coming up, but so do we."
The next two games have to be considered must-wins. After facing the Rangers, New Jersey hosts the league-worst Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday.
The Devils are 22-2-13-1 in their last 38 regular-season games against New York, and have not lost in regulation in their last 18 visits to Madison Square Garden (7-0-10-1).
"It's a big rivalry and you just learn to hate them," goalie Martin Brodeur said after New Jersey's 7-3 win at New York on Feb. 21. "I was with my kid and a guy said, 'Go Rangers' and he said, 'Daddy we're in New Jersey, what's going on?'
"It's just the way it is, so that's why when we come up and do something like that it's pretty good to stick it to them a little bit."
While Brodeur is 27-11-15 lifetime against the Rangers, Devils linemates Patrik Elias and Gomez have also flourished against them. Elias has 41 points in 35 career games against New York, while Gomez has nine goals and 15 assists in 24 games.
The Rangers continue stumbling as the regular season winds down, losing seven of nine.
They fell 3-2 in overtime at Florida on Saturday despite newly reacquired forward Sandy McCarthy scoring and rookie defenseman Fedor Tyutin notching his first NHL goal.
"This team right now is all about effort and doing the best we can," Rangers interim coach Tom Renney said.
STANDINGS: Devils - 85 points, 2nd place, 9 PB, Atlantic Division. Rangers - 63 points, 4th place, 31 PB, Atlantic Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Devils - Elias, 33 goals and 65 points; Gomez, 46 assists; Colin White, 83 PIM. Rangers - Jaromir Jagr, 27 goals, 41 assists and 68 points; Dale Purinton, 113 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 13): Devils - Power play: 15.5 percent (41 for 265), 19th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.9 percent (202 for 238), 7th. Rangers - Power play: 14.6 percent (42 for 288), 26th. Penalty killing: 80.1 percent (277 for 346), 29th.
GOALTENDERS: Devils - Brodeur (33-23-10, 10 SO, 2.07 GAA); Scott Clemmensen (1-1-0, 1, 1.53). Rangers - Mike Dunham (16-25-6, 2, 2.95); Jamie McLennan (12-10-3, 4, 2.23).
SEASON SERIES: Devils, 2-1-1.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 21; Devils, 7-3. At New York, the line of Elias, Gomez and Brian Gionta combined for 11 points for New Jersey.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Devils - 17-10-7-1 on the road; Rangers - 13-17-3-4 at home.
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