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Rangers nip Devils in key division clash
Newark, NJ (Sports Network) - Rick Nash scored the deciding goal 7:25 into the second period, and Henrik Lundqvist made the lead stand as the New York Rangers posted a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils in a key Atlantic Division clash from the Prudential Center.
Michael Del Zotto assisted on Nash's game-winner while delivering a short-handed goal earlier on for New York, with Lundqvist coming up with 29 saves to help the Rangers win for a second straight night following a three- game skid.
Carl Hagelin also scored for New York, which moved into a tie with the struggling Devils for the eighth and final playoff spot.
"It seems like every game we play a team that we have to pick up points against, so I think we're aware of the situation," said Devils forward Travis Zajac.
Zajac and Anton Volchenkov had the goals for New Jersey, with Johan Hedberg stopping 19-of-22 shots in the Devils' third consecutive setback.
Twelve of Lundqvist's saves came during a busy second period, and his turning away of Steve Bernier's backhander near the end of a Devils' power play led to an odd-man rush in which Nash skated up the right wing and beat Hedberg to the stick side to break a 2-2 deadlock.
Lundqvist made seven more stops in the final session, and the Rangers were able to successfully kill off the lone penalty of the period to stay in front until the final horn.
"I thought we stuck with it," Rangers head coach John Tortorella said afterward. "Henrik makes three great saves in that second period, (then) we go down and score."
Del Zotto scored shorthanded with a little over eight minutes left in an action-packed opening period, with the New York defenseman tipping home a pass Derek Stepan threw on net after forcing a turnover deep in the Devils' zone for a 1-0 edge.
The Devils fared far better on their second power-play opportunity. Shortly after winning a faceoff, Zajac fired a loose puck through the legs of Lundqvist to tie the contest 4:45 prior to the first intermission.
That started off a sequence of three goals between the teams within a span of under two minutes.
New York regained the upper hand with 3:50 to go in the frame, when Dan Girardi blasted a shot wide of the net that caromed right to Hagelin for a stuff-in into an open left side.
The lead was short-lived, though, as Volchenkov ripped a wicked shot from the left point that landed just inside the right post a mere 57 seconds after Hagelin's score.
Hedberg started despite the Devils activating Martin Brodeur from injured reserve prior to the game, with fellow goaltender Jeff Frazee reassigned to AHL Albany in a corresponding move. Brodeur has not played since Feb. 21 due to a sore back ... Center Andrei Loktionov missed a second straight outing for New Jersey due to an undisclosed injury ... The Rangers improved to 9-3-2 in one-goal games this season, while the Devils fell to 3-10-4 when allowing the game's first tally ... Volchenkov's goal was his first since March 11 of last season, which took place against Philadelphia.
03/19 23:36:38 ET
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