The New Jersey Devils already were playing well. Now that their power play is clicking, they could be even tougher to beat.
The Devils try for their fifth straight victory when they visit Madison Square Garden to take on the New York Rangers on Tuesday.
New Jersey (10-5-1) had gone just 2-for-29 with the man advantage in their previous five games before connecting on three of seven chances with the man advantage in Saturday's 4-2 win over the Florida Panthers.
The Devils, who have won six of seven, have converted just 15.0 percent of their power-play chances this season, ranking them in the bottom half of the league.
"It was just finding the way in," said Patrik Elias, who scored one of New Jersey's man-advantage goals. "We were shooting the puck and we were in good position for the rebounds. That's the way it goes sometimes. We were getting the wins and that's the important thing."
The Devils traditionally focus more on defense than offense, and rank near the bottom of the league with 2.38 goals scored per game. Still, they were pleased to score more than three goals for just the third time this season against the Panthers.
"The goals are nice," said Jamie Langenbrunner, who scored the only even-strength goal for New Jersey. "We worry about playing our game and the goals will come or they don't come.
"The power play had been struggling pretty bad. The goals might help us loosen up the grip on our sticks a little bit."
Along with the goal, Elias also picked up an assist for the Devils, snapping a five-game slump without a point. The goal was just his second in 15 games - he had 16 in only 38 games last season while recovering from hepatitis.
"There's no doubt it took a lot of weight off his shoulders. He's been looking to score for a little while," said New Jersey coach Claude Julien. "Like I said before, he just has to work through it and things will start to happen. I thought that's what he did tonight."
The Rangers (9-7-1), who trail the Atlantic Division-leading Devils by two points, own one of the poorest defenses in the NHL, allowing 3.31 goals per game. New York, though, failed to score a point for only the first time in six games on Saturday, falling 3-1 to the Washington Capitals.
Michael Nylander scored for New York and has four goals in his last four games.
"We needed to be in here and take it to this team - and we chose not to," coach Tom Renney said. "I am awfully disappointed with how we started this game tonight because I think that was two points that could have been had."
The Rangers beat the Devils 4-2 on Oct. 16 in the teams' only meeting this season. New York's Brendan Shanahan scored on the power play and Jason Ward added a short-handed goal 57 seconds apart late in the second period to snap a 1-1 tie.
Shanahan has only one assist in his last three games at MSG this season, and only seven of his 22 points this season have been scored there.
(c) New Jersey Devils 2013 - All Rights Reserved
newjerseydevils.com is the official web site of the New Jersey Devils, a member team of the National Hockey League ("NHL"). NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2013 New Jersey Devils and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.