While reaching the playoffs is a minimum expectation for the Rangers, it would be a boon to the rebuilding Devils after failing to qualify for three straight seasons.
This month will be vital for New Jersey with eight of its 13 opponents currently sitting higher in the standings. The Devils face the Rangers three times over that span.
"It's sort of make-or-break time for us to make the playoffs this next stretch," Stempniak said. "It's in division games so those are points where you beat the teams you're chasing and you close the gap pretty quickly, and if you lose, it can run away from you pretty quickly."
New Jersey's 2.24 scoring average is the lowest in the East, so it'll likely continue leaning on All-Star goaltender Cory Schneider, who is 22-15-5 with a 2.03 GAA that ties for third-best in the NHL.
Schneider had 26 saves against the Rangers in October after going 0-3-1 with a 3.79 GAA over the previous four meetings. >>> Read more…