In the mid-90’s it was the best local rivalry we had. Both teams were among the NHL elite and ferociously battled each other whenever they met. Then the Rangers fell on hard times and the Devils kept wining. Last night the two teams squared off at the Garden and when it was over New York had beaten New Jersey 3-1 and snapped their nine-game winning streak.
Darius Kasparaitis got things going by delivering a vicious elbow to the head of Grant Marshall barely five minutes into the game. Kasparaitis was given a game misconduct and a major penalty for what looked like an especially dirty hit while Marshall had to be helped off the ice. The Rangers penalty killers kept New Jersey off the board and stifled the Devils power play all game despite allowing 15 shots.
Petr Prucha got things going for the Rangers with a wicked shot off of a feed from Martin Straka. Jaromir Jagr connected on a long pass to Michael Nylander to make it 2-0 and the Rangers held on, adding an empty netter after Scott Gomez had scored to make it 2-1. The win keeps New York in second place with New Jersey eight points back and in third.