New York
Rangers
43-30-9
New Jersey
Devils
51-27-4

36 SOG
34 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
NYR
NJD
game recap

Remarkable Rangers rally not enough in Newark

Tuesday, 06.19.2012 / 1:54 AM
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Remarkable Rangers rally not enough in Newark
New York Rangers 5, New Jersey Devils 8

• PHOTO GALLERY

By Jim Cerny, newyorkrangers.com

In a wild, high-scoring affair at the Prudential Center on Friday night, the Rangers erased a four-goal deficit only to surrender the final three goals of the game in an 8-5 defeat at the hands of the Devils.

“We scored five goals, and that should win you a hockey game,” said Rangers head coach Tom Renney. “The fact of the matter is we had to expend a lot of energy doing that and then we fell back into bad lapses on defense, and it cost us.”

The victory was New Jersey’s first in regulation against the Rangers over the past two seasons. The Rangers had been 9-0-1 in their last 10 regular season matches against the Devils entering Friday night’s game.

Rangers winger Nikolai Zherdev tied his career high with four points, scoring a goal and adding three assists. Teammate Scott Gomez notched a season-high three points, with one goal and two assists.

The Devils, who have won nine of their last 10 games, received a pair of goals from Travis Zajac and a goal and three assists from Brian Gionta. Zach Parise also contributed four assists to the winning effort for the Devils.

“They’re a good team,” said goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. “But I think we made them better than they really are.”

The Rangers climbed out of a 5-1 hole at the 11:33 mark of the second period to pull within 5-4 on Paul Mara’s goal 1:28 into the third period. Zherdev and Gomez had started the comeback with scores late in the middle stanza. Mara drove a slap shot through Devils goalie Scott Clemmensen for his second goal of the season to bring the Rangers within a goal early in the final period.

Ryan Callahan then capped the Rangers’ comeback and tied the game 5-5 at 11:18 of the third. Callahan snapped a shot from a bad angle on left wing that somehow snuck under Clemmensen’s arm and into the cage for his eighth goal.

However, the stirring rally forged by the Rangers came to a crashing halt when the Devils responded with a pair of quick goals shortly after Callahan’s score. Patrick Elias scored 11 seconds after Callahan and then assisted on Gionta’s goal at 13:04 to restore New Jersey’s two-goal lead.

“The goal that got them to 6-5 was a big goal,” noted Rangers captain Chris Drury, who had a pair of assists in the contest. “We needed to keep it 5-5 for a few shifts to maintain momentum, but we just couldn’t do it.”

New Jersey captain Jamie Langenbrunner sent a shot past the beleaguered Lundqvist at 15:07 to remove any doubt as to the result of the contest.

“Eight goals for a goalie is not a lot of fun,” said Lundqvist. “We had some problems in our own zone obviously, and they found a lot of openings tonight. We made it pretty easy for them. But the bottom line is that I have to be better.”

The Devils seemingly took firm control of the contest by scoring three straight goals in the second period to increase their 2-1 lead to 5-1 midway through. However, the Rangers clawed their way back into the match by potting a pair of goals late in the period to cut their deficit to 5-3 before the second intermission.

Zajac scored his second of the night -- and seventh of the season -- just one minute into the middle stanza to start the early domination of the period by the Devils. Johnny Oduya slipped a shorthanded goal under a prone Lundqvist at 7:31, after Gionta’s heavy slap shot had clanged off the far post, to up New Jersey’s lead to 4-1.

The shorthanded goal was the second allowed by the Rangers on Friday night, and the league-high 10th surrendered by the club this season. The Rangers finished the evening 0-for-9 on the power play.

The Devils continued to pounce on the reeling Rangers with one great scoring chance after another. Lundqvist was under siege, and he was able to make several spectacular saves in an attempt to keep his club in the game. But at 11:33, Dainius Zubrus was all alone in the slot to fire home the rebound of his own left wing shot for his eighth goal, and the Rangers found themselves in a 5-1 hole.

Renney called timeout at that juncture to try and settle his team down. But after the timeout, it was the Devils who still had the better of the play, and Lundqvist was called on to make some more big saves.

“The mood was desperation, but it was also real clear that we wanted to get ourselves back in this hockey game,” Renney explained of his calling timeout.

The tide began to turn at 15:46 of the second when Zherdev scored his 10th goal of the season. Gomez won an offensive zone face-off in the right wing circle, and Zherdev swooped in to collect the puck. Zherdev then sped around the net, his wraparound shot eluded Clemmensen, and the Rangers’ comeback was on.

Gomez cut the deficit to two before the second period was over by scoring his sixth goal -- and second in as many games. Gomez collected the rebound of a Zherdev shot after shoving hulking defenseman Colin White off the puck and zipped it past Clemmensen to cut the Devils lead to 5-3 at 18:22.

What seemed improbable only a few minutes before suddenly seemed possible as the Rangers had regained the momentum and seemed poised to pull off a tremendous comeback.

A spirited first period, which featured a pair of fights, several big hits, and a touch of controversy, ended with the Devils holding a 2-1 lead.

New Jersey jumped out to a 1-0 advantage, scoring a shorthanded goal 4:04 into the contest. Only eight seconds after Bobby Holik was penalized for interference, the Devils capitalized on a Rangers giveaway in the neutral zone. John Madden led a 2-on-1 rush up left wing, fed the puck to Jay Pandolfo, and the veteran winger sent a wrist shot off Lundqvist’s left skate and into the net.

Several minutes later Colton Orr gave the Rangers a lift when he dropped the gloves and squared off with New Jersey’s Mike Rupp. Though the 6-foot-5-inch Rupp had a clear reach advantage, Orr held his own with both pugilists landing some big blows en-route to five-minute fighting majors at 11:56.

However that fight was just a prelim for the main event that took place at 14:54. Right off a face-off at center ice, Aaron Voros and New Jersey’s David Clarkson engaged in an angry battle which saw each player give and take several thunderous punches. The helmets of both players were popped off on rousing right-hand punches. And after the fight, Clarkson barked at Voros as the linesmen kept the combatants separated.

The Rangers pulled even on the scoreboard one minute later on a goal by Markus Naslund. The play evolved as Gomez skated deep into the offensive zone on left wing before centering a pass towards Naslund, who had a step on the backchecking Zubrus. Naslund swung his stick at the bouncing puck and missed, only to have it deflect off his right skate and past a diving Clemmensen at 15:54.

The referee immediately waved off the goal, but did call for a video review. After several minutes it was decided that Naslund did not use a distinct kicking motion with his foot, and, thus, was credited with his team-high 11th goal of the season to tie the score 1-1.

The Devils, though, answered right back and regained the lead on Zajac’s first goal of the night at 16:59. Elias made the play with a beautiful pass across the crease from right to left on to the stick of a wide-open Zajac. The Devils’ winger fired the puck past a sprawling Lundqvist for a power play goal, and the Devils were back on top 2-1.

For two defensive-minded teams, three goals scored in one period seemed like quite a lot. But that was nothing compared to what they had in store for the final 40 minutes of action.

“It was a track meet and something I think both teams wanted to avoid,” said Renney.

The Rangers will look to regroup as they are right back in action Saturday night with a home contest against the Carolina Hurricanes, their final game at The Garden before next week’s three-game swing through California.

scoring summary
1st Period
04:04
NJD
SHG - Jay Pandolfo (3) Wrist shot - ASST: John Madden (6), Bryce Salvador (4)
1 - 0 NJD
15:54
NYR
Markus Naslund (11) Deflected shot - ASST: Scott Gomez (14), Nikolay Zherdev (17)
1 - 1 Tie
16:59
NJD
PPG - Travis Zajac (6) Wrist shot - ASST: Patrik Elias (15), Zach Parise (14)
2 - 1 NJD
2nd Period
01:00
NJD
Travis Zajac (7) Wrist shot - ASST: Zach Parise (15), Jamie Langenbrunner (13)
3 - 1 NJD
07:31
NJD
SHG - Johnny Oduya (2) Backhand shot - ASST: Brian Gionta (15), Zach Parise (16)
4 - 1 NJD
11:33
NJD
Dainius Zubrus (8) Backhand shot - ASST: Brian Gionta (16)
5 - 1 NJD
15:46
NYR
Nikolay Zherdev (10) Wrap-around - ASST: Scott Gomez (15)
5 - 2 NJD
18:22
NYR
Scott Gomez (6) Wrist shot - ASST: Nikolay Zherdev (18), Markus Naslund (13)
5 - 3 NJD
3rd Period
01:28
NYR
Paul Mara (2) Slapshot - ASST: Chris Drury (8)
5 - 4 NJD
11:18
NYR
Ryan Callahan (8) Wrist shot - ASST: Nikolay Zherdev (19), Chris Drury (9)
5 - 5 Tie
11:29
NJD
Patrik Elias (12) Wrist shot - ASST: Dainius Zubrus (10), Brian Gionta (17)
6 - 5 NJD
13:04
NJD
Brian Gionta (8) Backhand shot - ASST: Dainius Zubrus (11), Patrik Elias (16)
7 - 5 NJD
15:07
NJD
Jamie Langenbrunner (5) Slapshot - ASST: Zach Parise (17), Bobby Holik (1)
8 - 5 NJD
penalty summary
1st Period
03:56
NJD
Bobby Holik  Interference against  Paul Mara
06:00
NJD
Jamie Langenbrunner  Slashing against  Ryan Callahan
07:02
NYR
Aaron Voros  Tripping against  Colin White
08:39
NJD
Brian Rolston  Hooking against  Fredrik Sjostrom
11:56
NJD
Mike Rupp  Fighting (maj) against  Colton Orr
11:56
NYR
Colton Orr  Fighting (maj) against  Mike Rupp
14:54
NYR
Aaron Voros  Fighting (maj) against  David Clarkson
14:54
NJD
David Clarkson  Fighting (maj) against  Aaron Voros
16:24
NYR
Markus Naslund  Hooking against  Brian Gionta
2nd Period
01:20
NYR
Dan Girardi  Fighting (maj) against  Travis Zajac
01:20
NJD
Travis Zajac  Fighting (maj) against  Dan Girardi
02:04
NYR
Dmitri Kalinin  Slashing against  Jay Pandolfo
05:43
NJD
Mike Rupp  Hi-sticking against  Brandon Dubinsky
05:43
NJD
Mike Rupp  Roughing against  Brandon Dubinsky
05:43
NYR
Brandon Dubinsky  Roughing against  Mike Rupp
13:25
NJD
Bobby Holik  Interference against  Lauri Korpikoski
18:46
NJD
Zach Parise  Slashing against  Paul Mara
3rd Period
03:21
NJD
Mike Mottau  Holding against  Fredrik Sjostrom
05:34
NYR
Dmitri Kalinin  Interference against  Mike Rupp
05:49
NJD
Brian Rolston  Holding against  Chris Drury
16:17
NJD
Jamie Langenbrunner  Fighting (maj) against  Ryan Callahan
16:17
NYR
Ryan Callahan  Fighting (maj) against  Jamie Langenbrunner
17:21
NJD
John Madden  Cross checking against  Aaron Voros
18:17
NJD
Paul Martin  Slashing against  Colton Orr
18:17
NYR
Colton Orr  Cross checking against  Paul Martin
goalie stats
Henrik Lundqvist
SA: 34TOI: 59:50
Saves: 26EV: 21 - 26
PIM: 0PP: 3 - 4
SV%: .765SH: 2 - 4
Scott Clemmensen
Scott Clemmensen
8-3-0
SA: 36TOI: 60:00
Saves: 31EV: 22 - 27
PIM: 0PP: 9 - 9
SV%: .861SH: 0 - 0
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