Rangers Notebook: Devils rivalry intense, Radulov returns
The Rangers entered last night’s nationally televised rivalry revival with the Devils needing just one point to clinch a playoff berth.
While the team is acutely aware of what awaits them — “playoff-style games, gets us ready for April,” Michael Del Zotto said after the Rangers’ early skate at the Garden Monday morning — their focus was on last night’s opponent.
Specifically, their intensity.
Following the 4-1 loss at The Rock on March 6, a number of Rangers confessed they did not match the Devils’ level of play, highlighted by Brian Boyle’s admission that
“They hated us tonight,” Brian Boyle said. “They wanted to kill us and we need to match that.”
With Monday night’s game the last in the regular season series between the two teams, and nine games remaining before the truly vital games are contested, will a lack of the requisite amount of passion be an issue for the Rangers?
“Definitely hope not,” Brandon Prust said. “It’s something we have to do all the time, make sure we have our intensity up and that’s how we play our best hockey. It’s key.”
Lundqvist on the small screen
Henrik Lundqvist will be featured on tomorrow’s episode of HBO’s Real Sports.
Lundqvist spent time speaking with Bryant Gumbel following the Rangers’ 4-3 matinee win over the Bruins on Mar. 4 for the segment.
“I haven’t really thought about it,” Lundqvist said. “Hopefully it’s a nice piece.
“It was a little bit about everything.”
The Alexander Radulov saga is coming to an end.
Radulov, widely acclaimed as the best player in the world not in the NHL, had his contract bought out with the KHL’s Ufa Salavat Yulaev and will rejoin the Nashville Predators, according to an interview in the Russian newspaper Sovetsky Sport with his agent Yuri Nikolaev.
Nashville had placed Radulov on the suspended list prior to the start of training camp in 2008 after he left for Salavat Yulaev in a contract dispute. Radulov was and is still under his NHL entry-level deal. It is widely believed that the Predators will re-start the clock on his contract to allow him to become a free agent in July.
Radulov totaled 44 goals and 95 points in 145 games spanning his first two NHL seasons. He has 91 goals and 254 points in four KHL seasons with Salavat Yulaev.
Predators coach Barry Trotz said in Monday’s edition of The Tennessean that he would “like to see [Radulov] in Pittsburgh if everything is correct.” The Predators play the Penguins Thursday night in a nationally televised match on NHL Network.
Radulov should bolster one of the NHL’s strongest teams. Nashville had added defenseman Hal Gill and forward Andrei Kostitsyn and Paul Gaustad at the trade deadline to a team that already boasted goaltender Pekka Rinne and defensemen Ryan Suter and Shea Weber.
Nashville is fourth in the Western Conference with 92 points. Its power play is tied with Vancouver for the league lead with a 21.6 percent efficiency.
Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.