Devils 4, Rangers 2 FINAL
|Parise scored twice (4,5) and set up Zubrus' winning goal in the third.
The Devils say there's no secret to winning on the road, but their composure was an important part of Thursday's 4-2 win over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
After blowing a 2-0 lead, Jersey's Team pulled another one out in the third period, when Dainius Zubrus
broke a 2-2 tie to put New Jersey ahead for good.
made 29 saves to lead the Devils to their fifth win in six games and keep New Jersey undefeated on the road this season (4-0-0). Brodeur didn't gain any ground on Terry Sawchuk's shutout mark, but he did beat Henrik Lundqvist in regulation for the first time in a regular-season game at MSG.
There was no understating the significance of Thursday's victory, which was the Devils' first of the year against an Atlantic Division opponent.
"It's a huge win for us," head coach Jacques Lemaire said. "I would've loved to play better in the second. But it's still a huge win."
Late goals have been the difference for the Devils through the first eight games. They have used third-period tallies to tie or take the lead in all five of their wins this season.
Zubrus' first of the season tipped the scales in the Devils' favor. The first man in on the forecheck, Zubrus snuck out to the top of the crease to tip in Zach Parise
's pass through Lundqvist at 7:51 of the third.
"I think they tried to rim it around the boards on the left side where Zach picked up the puck," Zubrus said. "As he did that, he threw it towards the net and tried to get there. The puck was coming pretty slow but I got a little piece of it, and I guess it surprised (Lundqvist)."
Parise had two goals and an assist, including an empty-netter with 40.2 seconds left. Niclas Bergfors notched his first of the season as the Devils won for the second time in their last three trips to Broadway.
"We're just having fun and playing well on the road right now," Parise said. "I don't know if there's any secret to it."
The Rangers pressured late, but the Devils' defense rose to the occasion. Colin White
's diving play broke up a Ryan Callahan breakaway with two minutes to go.
"It was a great play," Brodeur said. "We've talked about them splitting us a bit as far as the defense is concerned. They had some success with three really good chances, two that we made great plays, one that they scored on in the second period. Once again they did it late in the third. It's something that we talked about, and it was definitely nice to get back and make a critical play."
White said he was going for Callahan's stick when he dove at Callahan's right side.
"Obviously he's a right shot, so he's going to pull it to that side unless he was going backhand," White said. "But Johnny (Oduya) had good side pressure on him to force him that way. Bit of luck involved too."
Brodeur ended a personal three-game losing streak versus the Rangers and handed them their second straight defeat on home ice.
"It's always nice to beat the Rangers and play well," said Brodeur, who had an outstanding left pad save on Ales Kotalik in the second period. "I've been playing some decent games (against them), but couldn't get any wins. When Henrik plays the way he plays, sometimes it's hard to get wins. Definitely, it was nice today to come through with a big win. Now we're going to move into Pittsburgh on Saturday. One is done, and we'll try to get it done on Saturday also."
Parise's breakaway goal was his fourth of the season and gave the Devils a 1-0 lead at 6:11 of the first period. A tic-tac-toe passing play started with Paul Martin in the Devils' zone. Martin moved the puck up to Rob Niedermayer, who found Jamie Langenbrunner
, who fed Parise at the New York blueline. Parise raced in alone on Lundqvist, snapping it past his catching glove.
The goal came less than a minute after Mike Mottau had responded to a hit by Sean Avery by dropping the gloves with the Rangers forward.
"I'm a guy I guess he'll fight," Mottau said. "He doesn't fight everyone who wants to fight him, but he decided to fight me. Pretty even fight."
Bergfors made it a two-goal cushion with his first of the year, second of his career. After Travis Zajac
stripped Marc Staal at center, he pushed the puck to David Clarkson
. Clarkson threaded a pass between a pair of Rangers defenders to a breaking Bergfors, who redirected the puck top-shelf over Lundqvist's catching glove at 15:10.
"I was happy that he did score," Lemaire said. "The thing with him, he's got long shifts and he had long shifts after that, which takes a lot from his legs. He's not skating as well after long shifts. I told, and I guess he was better in the third. He's a kid, he's improving, and I think he's learning a lot of the things he has to do to be a good hockey player."
Marian Gaborik fired his seventh of the season, a power-play goal, through traffic at 1:47 of the second period. It took seven seconds for the Rangers to convert on Mottau's high-sticking minor.
Later in the frame, Parise set up a Zubrus scoring chance that was stopped by Lundqvist. The play quickly turned up ice when Dan Girardi cleared the puck to a wide open Kotalik in the neutral zone. Kotalik beat Brodeur for his fourth of the year at 14:25 of the second.
|Brodeur made 29 saves on Thursday.
Parise scored less than a minute after Mottau's fight, and said the bout pumped up the Devils bench.
"When you've got a guy that doesn't usually do something like that, fighting a guy like Avery, that says a lot," Parise said. "He did a great job with the fight too – that was a great fight. There's times in a game when you're able to use things like that to get a little momentum and I think we definitely did after that fight. It was great for us."
The Devils jumped out of the gate in the first period on Thursday.
"I think at the beginning of the game, we were more aggressive," Parise said. "We weren't waiting for something to happen. The last time we played them at home (3-2 loss on Oct. 5) we came out well, too, and got an early goal. We weren't sitting there waiting for them to do something; we were more assertive."
Parise said the team kept its cool even after Kotalik tied it up.
"It's not as if we were getting nervous," he said. "We knew we didn't have a great second period. We kind of let them back into the game and they were able to capitalize. We just played smarter in the third and got back on our toes a little bit; a little more aggressive."
• Lemaire was pleased with the first period, but said his team wasn't sharp enough in the second. The Devils were outshot, 13-6, in the middle frame.
"First period was good," Lemaire said. "I think we played well. We were careful when we had the puck, we made good plays. We backed their defensemen up. Second period, for some reason, we felt we would get five goals without working and paying attention to their offense. This is a team that has a good team that has a good offense, and you always have to know where they are on the ice. If you're not aware of that, you'll be in trouble. That's why they came back."
• Brodeur said he never saw Gaborik's goal.
"It went through me," Brodeur said. "I didn't see it. I know that Kotalik made the pass to Gaborik and by the time I saw him, the puck was already off his stick with that quick release. It just stuck right through; I never saw it."
• Zajac's breakaway with 9:08 left in regulation was denied by Lundqvist.
• The Devils were already leading by two when Oduya's interference penalty left them shorthanded with 24 seconds left in regulation.
• New Jersey misconnected on its lone power play of the game, and has gone scoreless in its last 16 opportunities.
|Three star selections