Rangers Edge Out Devils in First Meeting of ’23-’24 Season
For about eight months the New York Rangers had to live with the taste of that bitter playoff defeat at the hands of the New Jersey Devils in the opening round of last season’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. On Saturday night, the Blue Shirts took a major step in exercising those demons.
The best team in the Metro Division flexed its muscle in the third period of a 5-3 win over their cross-river rivals at Prudential Center Saturday night.
The Rangers scored three consecutive goals in the third period after watching the Devils – twice – tie the score in the opening period, and, later, take a 3-2 lead on a goal by Erik Haula.
However with 8:36 to go, Artemi Panarin saw the puck get free on a face-off, and quickly slapped it across Vitek Vanecek for the tying goal sending the Rangers fans at the Rock into a tizzy.
Six minutes later the Blue Shirts lit the lamp again when Jimmy Vesey backhanded a shot into the rebound off Tyler Pitlick’s shot into the back of the net to give the Rangers a 4-3 lead with 2:49 to go.
Finally with a little over 90 seconds to go Blake Wheeler added the empty netter to ice the game at 5-3 Blue Shirts.
The victory is the fourth in a row for the Rangers, who improve to an astounding 12-2-1 on the season. The Devils fall to 8-7-2.
As for the Devils, they did welcome back Jack Hughes to lineup after missing five games with an upper body injury. He scored his sixth goal of the season back in the first period on a shot that initially tied the proceedings at one.
Rangers visit Dallas on Monday. The Devils visit Detroit on Wednesday. These two teams won’t see each other again until February 22.