With the holiday break in the rearview mirror, the Rangers will try to extend their seven-game winning streak when they face the Devils on Saturday night at the Garden.
Can they jump right back into the groove after spending time celebrating with family and friends?
"I think it's just a mind-set when you come back to work," Henrik Lundqvist said after the Rangers defeated Washington, 4-2, on Tuesday. "I think we all deserve it, to spend a little time with our families. But when you come back, you have to reset. It doesn't matter whether you've won five in a row or lost five in a row; you have to have the same mind-set and approach in the same way, of what we have to do to win."
The Rangers are 18-10-4, seventh in the Eastern Conference, with games in hand on all the teams above them in the standings.
New Jersey has scuffled this season with a 12-17-7 record and is ranked 14th in the Eastern Conference. The Devils fired coach Peter DeBoer Friday, with no replacement named.
In their only meeting of this season, the Rangers rallied to edge the Devils, 4-3, in overtime on Oct. 21 at Prudential Center. Defenseman Kevin Klein scored at 2:42 of the extra session after goals by Chris Mueller and Rick Nash erased a 3-1 Devils lead in the third period.
Lundqvist and Cory Schneider are expected to be in the nets Saturday night. Lundqvist (15-7-3, five shutouts) has been sharp recently, winning his last six starts and allowing two or fewer goals in all of them. That has lowered his goals-against average to 2.44 and raised his save percentage to .913.
"I feel like the last couple of weeks . . . it feels like we are reading from each other and making good decisions," Lundqvist said. "It's helping everyone to know what to do."
The Devils are not scoring enough in front of Schneider, who is 11-16-4 with a 2.51 GAA and a .917 save percentage.
The Rangers have 97 goals in 32 games; the Devils have 78 in 36 games. Mike Cammalleri is the leading scorer for the Devils with 11 goals; Nash leads the Rangers with 23.
After the game, the Rangers will close out the calendar year on the road, in Dallas against the Stars on Monday and in Florida against the Panthers on New Year's Eve.