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The Battle for the Mid-Atlantic as New York Rangers Take on New Jersey Devils

February 5th, 2013 at 1:55 PM
By PJ Foti

'Rangers @ Devils 02/09/09' photo (c) 2009, Dov Harrington - license:

The New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils will meet for the first time since last season's Eastern Conference Finals where the Devils beat the Rangers to go to the Stanley Cup.

Tonight, the Atlantic Division rivals will meet four times this season. Coming into this game, the Rangers have won four of six and have eight points on the year. New Jersey comes into the contest ranked second in the division with a 4-1-3 record, good for 11 points.

The story for the Rangers in this one will be J.T. Miller. The 19-year-old, 2011 first round draft pick (15th overall) will be making his Blueshirts debut. The youngster seemed as cool as a cucumber in early morning practice today, despite this being his first NHL game.

He said he's been looking forward to this moment since he was a little kid, but isn't nervous. Miller said he slept well last night and is pretty relaxed, even with the game just hours away.

He had eight goals and 12 assists in Connecticut this season and was recently an AHL All-Star.

Another storyline developing in this game is that Chris Kreider may return from injury. Rangers head coach John Tortorella wouldn't reveal the team's lineup but Brandon Mashinter was sent back to Connecticut this morning to play with the Whale.

That means either Kreider, Matt Gilroy or Stu Bickel will occupy the 12th forward spot.

Kreider wasn't ruled out, but we'll have to wait and see if he suits up tonight.

The Rangers better be ready as they square off vs. New Jersey. Henrik Lundqvist and Martin Brodeur produce a good game when matched up vs. each other.

This game will tell just how the Rangers will matchup with the rest of their division for this shortened 2013 season.

Tags: AHL, Brandon Mashinter, Chris Kreider, Henrik Lundqvist, Hockey, J.T. Miller, John Tortorella, Martin Brodeur, Matt Gilroy, New Jersey Devils, New York, New York Rangers, NHL, Stu Bickel

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