Johnny Oduya and the Devils took their second straight against the Rangers.
newjerseydevils.com – The Devils couldn't buy a goal for two straight games, but they rediscovered their scoring touch against the rival New York Rangers.
Travis Zajac had a goal and two assists for his second three-point game of the season, and Patrik Elias and Zach Parise each added a goal and an assist in the Devils' 4-2 victory Saturday at Madison Square Garden.
Brian Rolston's power play goal in the first period ended New Jersey's scoring drought at 159:18, as the Devils snapped a five-game losing skid at MSG with their first regulation win in Manhattan since Dec. 17, 2006.
Just 1:20 after Rolston's tally, Elias struck with the Devils' third shorthanded goal in the last two games versus the Rangers, who have allowed a league-high 11.
The Devils shook off back-to-back shutout losses with their 13th win in their last 18 games, and avoided their first three-game losing streak since mid-November.
"What's important now is just playing good hockey," Elias said. "You're not going to win all the time, but when the team feels good and confident, we'll end up where we want to."
Scott Clemmensen was superb in making 31 saves for his eighth win in 11 December starts. He came up huge in the final two minutes of the second period, fighting off 39 seconds of a Rangers 5-on-3.
Clemmensen stopped Chris Drury's one-timer from the slot with 1:47 left in the period, then slid across to his right to deny Nikolai Zherdev's rebound try. New York was credited with the final 10 shots of the middle frame, but couldn't take a lead against Clemmensen, who improved to 12-5-1.
Dmitri Kalinin brought the Rangers within a goal, 3-2, 8:59 into the third period, but Parise's club-leading 19th of the season gave the Devils insurance with 7:02 left.
Their second straight win in the Battle of the Hudson handed New Jersey two big points within the division. They leapfrogged Pittsburgh and moved within four points of the Atlantic-leading Rangers with four games in hand.
The Devils' three-game road trip finishes with games Tuesday in St. Louis and Wednesday in Dallas.
The first period featured three goals in a 2:20 span of the first 5:14 of the game.
Devils special teams connected for a power play goal and a shorthanded strike just 1:20 apart for a quick 2-0 lead in the first period. Nigel Dawes then put the Rangers on the board on the power play.
Rolston, who was the last Devil to score a goal two games ago versus Philadelphia, gave his team the lead with his fourth of the year. After the Rangers were penalized for too many men, Rolston's blast through David Clarkson's screen beat Henrik Lundqvist at 2:54 for the Devils' first power play marker in 13 chances.
New York entered the game having allowed a league-high 10 shorthanded goals. With Mike Rupp in the box for interference at 3:40, Elias made it 11.
Zajac chipped the puck away from Brandon Dubinsky at the Rangers' right point, and sent a speeding Elias in alone on a shorthanded breakaway. Elias, who had a 10-game points streak snapped Tuesday, rifled a wrist shot under the crossbar behind Lundqvist's catching glove at 4:14.
Elias' two-point night gave him 667 points for his career and moved him within 34 of John MacLean's Devils record. Zajac's assist was his 15th of the season and his 100th-career point.
The Rangers cut the deficit in half when Dawes controlled Paul Mara's errant shot in the slot, and wrapped a backhander around Clemmensen at 5:14 of the first.
New Jersey carried the shot count, 17-7, in the opening frame, and pulled ahead by two goals in the second period.
Ten seconds after their fourth power play had expired, Parise sent Elias into Rangers territory for a drop pass at the right circle for Zajac. The third-year center ripped a slap shot by Lundqvist for a 3-1 New Jersey lead at 11:12 of the second.
Parise's 23rd assist of the season was his 200th career point.
Clemmensen stood on his head late in the period to protect that two-goal edge. Clarkson was whistled for playing with a broken stick, and John Madden was called for interference to give the Rangers 39 seconds of a 5-on-3 with 2:05 remaining.
Clemmensen stopped a Drury one-timer from the slot with 1:47 left, then slid to his right to stop Zherdev's rebound try from just off the left post. Clemmensen fended off Scott Gomez's redirection of a Zherdev pass with 20 seconds left.
The Rangers were credited with the final 10 shots of the period and finished with a 15-11 shots edge in the frame.
Kalinin's slap shot from the top of the left circle beat Clemmensen's blocker side at 8:59 to make it 3-2.
Less than four minutes later, Parise's 96th career goal restored the Devils' two-goal cushion. Parise dumped from the left corner to Jamie Langenbrunner behind the cage and drove toward the front of Lundqvist.
Langenbrunner fed in front for Parise, who broke through the check of Drury to bury New Jersey's fourth goal at 12:58.
Parise is the sixth fastest Devil to 200 points from the start of his career. Kirk Muller was the fastest, reaching 200 points in his first 242 games. Parise came up one game short of Petr Sykora, who reached 200 points in his first 277 games. Elias collected 200 points in his first 273 games... Elias' shorthanded goal was the eighth of his career, and first since 2003-04... Bryce Salvador missed his fifth straight game and is listed as day-to-day with an inner ear infection... Sheldon Brookbank was a healthy scratch.
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