New Jersey Devils: Pucks and Pitchforks Massive Playoff Preview

New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes (86) high fives a fan after the game against the Vancouver Canucks at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes (86) high fives a fan after the game against the Vancouver Canucks at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /
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New Jersey Devils
Igor Shesterkin #31 and Mika Zibanejad #93 of the New York Rangers. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

2. Which Rangers player makes you most worried?

Villano: Igor Shesterkin obviously scares the heck out of me, but Chris Kreider is the player that can flip this series around. The Rangers need to find ways to produce at even strength, and Kreider is the player that can turn things around.

Parise: Patrick Kane didn’t have a great regular season, but he dealt with some tough circumstances. He is going to be very scary as the playoffs begin.

Rice: Rangers player to worry about – Kane. The second of the NYR two deadline acquisitions, Tarasenko being the other, has had a tepid start to his career in NY. If playoff Patty Kane shows up he could potentially power them to a short series and long playoff run. But that’s the worst-case scenario, from the Devils side of things.

Borges Jr.: The Rangers player that makes me worried is Jacob Trouba. Yeah, I said it. He is a hard-hitting defenseman that won’t chip in a lot offensively. However, all Devils fans know a hard-hitting defenseman is key for a Cup-contending team (see: Stevens, Scott). The Devils are one Trouba hit across the middle away from losing key offensive pieces that will be difficult to replace. I am not saying Trouba will head hunt. I am just saying they need to watch out for him.

DeLuca: Mika Zibanejad. This guy has been nothing but a problem. 32 points in 29 games against NJ, and that only includes his time as a Ranger. He dominates the Devils and needs to be shut down in this series for the Devils to have success.

Stanislau: Igor Shesterkin is the only reason why the Rangers are any good in net. If not the series will be over quickly.

Bailey: Mika Zibanejad. The Devils struggle to maintain their positioning and win pucks defending the cycle, which means there can and will be many opportunities for the Rangers’ leading goal-scorer to lurk around the circles and wait to get an uncontested shot off.

Annaluru: Igor Shesterkin: As one of the league’s best goalies, Shesterkin absolutely has the ability to steal a series. He was shaky in last year’s 1st round matchup against Pittsburgh but really turned it on in the later rounds. I’d expect the latter to be the case here. Honorable Mention: Adam Fox.

Williams: Artemi Panarin is the Rangers player that worries me the most. He has the ability to turn a game on its head with his offensive prowess, especially his shot.

Goldstein: I’m honestly most worried about Filip Chytil. The Zibanejads and the Panarins will be accounted for, but Chytil has taken a massive step up on the 3rd line with 22 goals this season (his previous season high was 14). The Devils must account for Chytil as a threat when the Rangers’ top guns aren’t on the ice.

Garrison: The one player on the Rangers that scares me the most is Mika Zibanejad. In the last few months, Zibanejad has heated up, and in the playoffs, he can be scary at any moment of an important game, especially in a clinching game.

Holiday: Igor Shesterkin. The guy is top-tier and could easily steal multiple games for them and be the deciding factor in a long series.

Fink: Mika Zibanejad makes me the most worried of any Rangers player. He seems to elevate his game not only in the postseason but also against the Devils, making Kreider so much more of a threat.

Russell: Patrick Kane

Woo: Igor Shesterkin. When he is hot, he is virtually unstoppable, no matter how many shots you put on him. On any given night, he can steal the game.