The 2014 NHL Stadium Series kicks off Saturday night, when the Ducks take on the Kings at Dodger Stadium, and continues Sunday, as the Rangers take on the Devils at Yankee Stadium. Sunday’s game against New Jersey will mark the Rangers’ first of two stadium games. The second game takes place January 29, when they face the Islanders.
The last time the Rangers played in an outdoor game, they saw a 3-2 victory over the Flyers back in 2012 at Citizens Bank Park. A memorable performance by the Rangers–as Marc Staal returned from a concussion and veteran goalie Henrik Lundqvist stopped Danny Briere’s penalty shot attempt with just 20 seconds remaining. The Rangers would love nothing more than to have another memorable victory over their divisional rival, the Devils.
A lot has changed, however, since that victory over the Flyers. Former Rangers coach Tortorella, who had one of his infamous tirades after the 2012 Winter Classic, is gone and Alain Vigneault has taken over the currently 27-23-3 Rangers, bringing a much different mentality to the organization.
The offense has certainly been one of the biggest struggles that the Rangers have dealt with this season and the lack of consistency over the season has not helped, either. But recently things have turned around. Rick Nash returned, Brad Richards has finally hit his stride with 13 goals on the season and Lundqvist is playing like the Lundqvist of old–which is a good thing– and, as a result, the Rangers are sitting in second place in the Metropolitan division.
The big story for the sixth place New jersey Devils was the naming of who would start in goal Sunday: Would it be Cory Schneider or Martin Brodeur? The answer to that question was revealed Saturday morning when Devils’ coach Peter DeBoer announced Brodeur would start against the Rangers, which will mark Brodeur’s first outdoor game.
“It really was an easy decision from a right-thing-to-do perspective,” DeBoer said Saturday on NHL.com. “He’s done so much in his career with the Devils and also he’s played some excellent hockey for us this year.”
Both the Devils and the Rangers are exceptional when it comes to the power-play and their penalty kill units. The Rangers rank sixth in the league on the power-play, while the Devils rank ninth in the league.
A win on Sunday is crucial for both teams. The Rangers are coming off two straight losses and are just one point ahead of the Blue Jackets and the Flyers. Meanwhile, the Devils are just two points behind the Rangers, despite sitting in sixth place in the Metro division.
Sure, it will be cold in New York, but Sunday’s divisional rivalry match-up between the Rangers and the Devils should certainly be a fun one.