NEWARK, N.J. -- Henrik Lundqvist made 36 saves to back a three-goal third period that propelled the New York Rangers to a 3-0 victory against the New Jersey Devils in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday at Prudential Center.
Lundqvist earned his sixth career playoff shutout and second of this series against his Hudson River rival -- he stopped 25 shots over the final two periods. At the other end, Devils goalie Martin Brodeur turned aside 19 shots but suffered his 87th career playoff loss.
Amazingly, the team that has won the third period in each of the three games of the series has ultimately come out victorious.
The Rangers will look to extend their 2-1 series lead in Game 4, which is scheduled Monday at Prudential Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).
Chris Kreider's deflection past Brodeur at 5:16 of the third gave the visitors some breathing room at 2-0. Ryan McDonagh's blast from the left point deflected off Kreider, who was cruising through the slot. The goal was the Rangers' first non-empty-net, 5-on-5 goal of the series since the third period of Game 1.
The Devils just missed at snapping Lundqvist' shutout bid with 4:09 left in regulation, when Peter Harrold rang a shot off the crossbar from between the circles.
Kreider's fifth goal of the postseason set a new record for most playoff goals from a player who had never played in a regular-season game. Montreal's Eddie Mazur had four. Ryan Callahan's empty-net goal at 17:47 sealed the shutout for the Blueshirts.
The Rangers opened a 1-0 lead 3:19 into the third on a power-play goal by Dan Girardi. Brad Richards won an offensive-zone draw against Patrik Elias back to Girardi, who skated into the puck in the right circle before ripping a low liner to Brodeur's blocker side from the edge of the circle.
Brad Richards just missed at breaking a scoreless tie 1:11 into the third when his one-timer from the right has rang off the crossbar behind Brodeur. Less than a minute later, Marc Staal snapped a shot from the slot that Brodeur stopped with his left pad.
The teams traded good scoring chances in the second. Lundqvist was called upon early and often, however. He denied an Ilya Kovalchuk breakaway attempt just 46 seconds into the period when he dove to his left. Over a minute later, he'd stop a slap shot from the point by Dainius Zubrus point and the ensuing rebound off the stick of Adam Henrique in the slot.
Brodeur, 40, once again turned back the clock when he made an extraordinary glove save on Ryan Callahan while reaching to his right at the left post at the 9:03 mark. Derek Stepan took the initial shot from the right point that deflected to an open Callahan at the post. The denial sent the hometown faithful into a frenzy.
But, make no mistake, Lundqvist was the reason the Rangers remained even at the second intermission, totaling 26 saves through 40 minutes.
The Devils looked to pick up where they left off in Game 2 in the opening 20 minutes, being selective with their shots while attempting to create screens.
The Devils not only outshot (11-5) the Rangers in the first, but had 23 shot attempts to the Rangers' six. The visitors blocked nine shots in the first.
Late in the period, Patrik Elias appeared to get hit in the face while crossing paths with Brian Boyle in the neutral zone. The veteran Elias immediately skated off the ice and into the locker room for evaluation, but would return for the start of the second. The Devils were given the first power-play of the game when Stepan was sent to the box for hooking down Ryan Carter at 5:11, but the Devils could only manage one shot on the advantage.
Both goalies were called upon to make some key saves, particularly Lundqvist, who did the splits to deny a blast from the left point by defenseman Bryce Salvador at 10:56. The Rangers were given a power-play at 15:23 when Kovalchuk was sent to the box for a high-stick on McDonagh, but the Devils yielded no shots on the two-minute infraction.
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter: @mike_morreale
1 - 0 NYR
2 - 0 NYR