At a glance: Both the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils are struggling to resurrect the type of play that pitted the two clubs against each other in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals as the bitter division rivals clash at Newark’s Prudential Center Tuesday night. With only two points separating the teams in the standings, the 8th place Devils look to hold off the 9th place Rangers playing their second game in as many nights.
Brodeur to back up: After missing 12 games with a back injury, Martin Brodeur returns Tuesday to back up Johan Hedberg. Hedberg will make his 13th consecutive start but Brodeur told reporters that he’s 100% ready to play if necessary. The 40-year-old netminder is likely to start Thursday’s game against the Hurricanes in Carolina.
Back on track: The Rangers travel to Newark fresh off a 2-1 shootout win against the Hurricanes at Madison Square Garden on Monday. Both Rick Nash and J.T. Miller scored in the shootout to help the Blueshirts snap a three-game losing streak that had them slipping in the standings.
Sestito recalled: The Devils recalled left wing Tim Sestito from the Albany Devils of the American Hockey League. Sestito, 28, has seven goals and 13 assists in 57 games for Albany this season. The Devils announced that center Andrei Loktionov is out for Tuesday’s game with an undisclosed injury.
Close one: Don’t expect Tuesday’s contest to be a lop-sided affair as 14 of the last 18 meetings between the two clubs have been separated by two goals or less. The Devils won the first of four meetings this season with a 3-1 victory at home on February 5. Devils winger David Clarkson notched a pair of goals in the clubs’ first reunion since the Devils ousted the Rangers in the playoffs last spring.
Top line together: Aiming to spark his goal-starved club, coach John Tortorella reunited Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards and Rick Nash on a line Monday night, although whether he keeps them together Tuesday remains to be seen. While Nash has recorded a point in 10 of his last 14 games, Gaborik has scored only one goal in the last 15, Richards only two in his last 21.