The New York Rangers advanced to their first Eastern Conference Finals appearance since 1997 after going the distance and eliminating the Washington Capitals in seven games. The New Jersey Devils earned a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals when they quickly disposed of the Philadelphia Flyers in five games.
The cross-river rivals are in the conference finals together for the first time since 1994. It is a series that will be evenly matched due to the talent each squad possesses and the familiarity between both teams.
With the puck set to drop at 8:00 p.m. ET, here is what you need to know for Game 1.
Where to Watch
TV: MSG Network
When: Monday, May 14 at 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Watch: NBC Sports Network, CBC and RDS.
When: Monday, May 14 at 8:00 p.m. ET
TV: MSG Network
When: Following Game 1 for approximately one hour
TV: NHL Network
Money Line from Bovada Sportsbook
New Jersey Devils: (+110)
New York Rangers: (-140)
Season Series: Rangers Won Via Points Tiebreaker
Dec. 20, 2011: New York 4, New Jersey 1; at Prudential Center
Jan. 31, 2012: New Jersey 3, New York 2; at Prudential Center
Feb. 7, 2012: New Jersey 1, New York 0; at Madison Square Garden
Feb. 27, 2012: New York 2, New Jersey 0; at Madison Square Garden
March 6, 2012: New Jersey 4, New York 1; at Prudential Center
March 19, 2012: New York 4, New Jersey 2; at Madison Square Garden
Lifetime Head-to-Head Playoff Numbers
1993-94: New York 4, New Jersey 3—Eastern Conference Finals
1997-98: New York 4, New Jersey 1—Eastern Conference semifinals
2005-06: New Jersey 4, New York 0—Eastern Conference quarterfinals
2007-08: New York 4, New Jersey 1—Eastern Conference semifinals
Playoff Scoring Team Leaders
Goals: Brad Richards (6)
Assists: Derek Stepan (7)
Points: Brad Richards (11)
+/-: Marc Staal (+3)
TOI/G (Defensemen): Dan Girardi (27:39)
TOI/G (Forwards): Ryan Callahan (24:20)
New Jersey Devils
Goals: Travis Zajac, Ilya Kovalchuk (5)
Assists: Ilya Kovalchuk (7)
Points: Ilya Kovalchuk (12)
+/-: Bryce Salvador (+8)
TOI/G (Defensemen): Marek Zidlicky (24:38)
TOI/G (Forwards): Ilya Kovalchuk (24:13)
Players to Watch In Game 1
Carl Hagelin (NYR)
Ilya Kovalchuk (NJD)
During the regular season, Kovalchuk scored two goals and assisted on two others for four points, and had a plus-minus rating of minus-two.
| 8-6-0 | 1.68 GAA | .937 SV percentage | 1 SO |
Lundqvist is playing his best playoff hockey to date. He is 3-0-0 for the Blueshirts in elimination games this year, so he is calm and cool under pressure.
| 8-3-0 | 2.05 GAA | .920 SV percentage | 1 SO |
The wily veteran is likely enjoying his last lengthy playoff run. There is not much more for the Devils' netminder to accomplish in the NHL, but contending for a Stanley Cup is something to keep him motivated.
New York Rangers
Carl Hagelin, Brad Richards (A), Marián Gáborík
Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan, Ryan Callahan (C)
Ruslan Fedotenko, Brian Boyle, Brandon Prust
Artem Anisimov, John Mitchell, Mike Rupp
Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi
Marc Staal (A), Anton Strålman
Michael Del Zotto, Stu Bickel
New Jersey Devils
Zach Parise (C), Travis Zajac, Ilya Kovalchuk (A)
Petr Sykora, Patrik Eliás (A), Dainius Zubrus
Alexei Ponikarovsky, Adam Henrique, Steve Bernier
Ryan Carter, Jacob Josefson, Cam Janssen
Bryce Salvador, Marek Zidlicky
Mark Fayne, Andy Greene
Anton Volchenkov, Peter Harrold
Question of the Day: Will there be a fight in the first five minutes of the game?
A fight broke out the last time the bitter Atlantic rivals squared off at Madison Square Garden. It may be the playoffs, but there is a chance that each team gets physical early on in Game 1.
Prediction: Rangers win 3-1
The Rangers will be riding high off their Game 7 win against the Capitals, but more importantly, the Rangers will be more rested than ever this series.
Given the proximity of the two teams, the Rangers will be able to sleep at home every night, complete their usual pregame rituals and will be more relaxed than when traveling to Ottawa and Washington, D.C.
The Rangers were able to stymie the Capitals' offense and movement through the neutral zone, so look for them to do the same to New Jersey from the start.