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19 SOG
27 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
NYR
NJD
game recap

Devils chase Lundqvist in 6-3 win over Rangers

Tuesday, 08.16.2011 / 5:14 AM

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK , N.J. -- After two lackluster performances on the road that resulted in a pair of losses, the New Jersey Devils returned home and held a closed-door, soul-searching team meeting to openly discuss the problems that have been plaguing the team since mid-January.

Whatever was said among the players and coaches seemed to have been the wake-up call everyone needed.

In their first game since the airing of grievances, the Devils used a five-goal barrage over the first two periods to chase Henrik Lundqvist and send the New York Rangers to their fourth straight loss, 6-3 at the Prudential Center on Wednesday night.

Six players scored for the Devils, who came ready to play from the opening faceoff against their cross-river rivals.

"I think we played with more intensity. We showed that we really wanted to win tonight, more than I've seen lately," coach Jacques Lemaire said. "We're headed in the right direction."

Entering Wednesday's game, the Devils were 6-12-2 since their 1-0 shootout win against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 12. They hit rock bottom Sunday in Edmonton in a 2-0 loss to the Oilers that followed a 5-3 loss to the Flames in Calgary two days earlier.

But the Devils held it together Wednesday, when they relinquished three one-goal leads during the first two periods before putting some space between themselves and the Rangers. It wasn't perfect, but everyone agreed it was a performance that was desperately needed.

"I think there's still a lot of things to work to make sure we're getting ourselves ready down the stretch and play well," said Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, who stopped 16 of 19 shots to earn the victory. "I think effort, character-wise, I think in a big rivalry to come out and play an emotional game and come out on top, it feels good."

And how much of that effort can be attributed to Tuesday's team meeting?

"You don't know if it helps, but I think the intensity and the caring of each other needs to be a little higher," Brodeur said about the team before Wednesday's win. "I think today you could see everybody stuck together and pulled through it and got a big win.

"Hopefully we'll look back and think it's important, not just for standings-wise, but for confidence going down the stretch."

Rob Niedermayer got things off on the right foot for Devils at 4:16 of the first period when he beat Lundqvist over his catching glove to make it 1-0. Vinny Prospal responded for the Rangers 57 seconds later, but the Devils hung tough until Bryce Salvador scored with 1:43 left in the opening period on a shot that deflected into the net off Rangers center Olli Jokinen.

The trading of goals would continue in the second period. Erik Christensen tied the score off a great individual effort at 5:01, but Zach Parise's 31st goal of the season at 8:38 put the Devils ahead 3-2. Brandon Prust got his first as a Ranger 37 seconds later, but goals from Jamie Langenbrunner and Brian Rolston to close the second period gave the Devils a two-goal lead and sent Lundqvist to the bench in favor of Alex Auld.

Lundqvist made just 12 saves on 17 shots, but it was hard to fault him on any of the goals.

"I don't know how many of them were tips, probably two or three," Rangers defenseman Marc Staal said. "It's not his fault. We had breakdowns in our own zone and it ended up costing us. It wasn't his fault at all."

"We played in spurts," Rangers coach John Tortorella said of his team's up-and-down effort. "As we've done through most of the year, we've been inconsistent. We've been really good at times, inconsistent at other times, and it was the same thing tonight."

The Rangers wasted a chance to pick up ground on the idle Boston Bruins, who have a three-point lead on New York for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins also have two games in hand.

The win moved the Devils to within three points of the Atlantic Division-leading Pittsburgh Penguins, who come to New Jersey on Friday.

"If we play like we did tonight, we'll have our chance," Parise said of facing the Pens. "We played a good game. All the lines were playing well, we were playing a lot smarter. We were playing harder. We were tough to play against tonight."

One game might not be able to cure the Devils' ills, but it's clear the message got across in that meeting.

"The way we were playing was not good enough," Lemaire said. "Now they know and it's good they put pressure on themselves to play better, play as a team."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter at: @DLozoNHL

scoring summary
1st Period
04:16
NJD
Rob Niedermayer (8) Wrist shot - ASST: Brian Rolston (14), Mike Mottau (10)
1 - 0 NJD
05:13
NYR
Vinny Prospal (15) Wrist shot - ASST: Marian Gaborik (35), Olli Jokinen (31)
1 - 1 Tie
18:17
NJD
Bryce Salvador (4) Deflected shot - ASST: Andy Greene (22), Jamie Langenbrunner (40)
2 - 1 NJD
2nd Period
05:01
NYR
Erik Christensen (6) Wrist shot - ASST: Brandon Dubinsky (19), Dan Girardi (11)
2 - 2 Tie
08:38
NJD
PPG - Zach Parise (31) Backhand shot - ASST: Dainius Zubrus (10), Travis Zajac (36)
3 - 2 NJD
09:15
NYR
Brandon Prust (2) Wrist shot - ASST: Jody Shelley (4)
3 - 3 Tie
13:06
NJD
Jamie Langenbrunner (16) Wrist shot - ASST: Mike Mottau (11), Andy Greene (23)
4 - 3 NJD
15:19
NJD
Brian Rolston (18) Tip-in - ASST: Rob Niedermayer (12), David Clarkson (10)
5 - 3 NJD
3rd Period
16:21
NJD
Travis Zajac (21) Slapshot - ASST: Dainius Zubrus (11), Zach Parise (36)
6 - 3 NJD
penalty summary
1st Period
07:47
NJD
Dainius Zubrus  Roughing against  Ryan Callahan
18:21
NYR
Jody Shelley  Fighting (maj) against  Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond
18:21
NJD
Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond  Fighting (maj) against  Jody Shelley
2nd Period
05:54
NJD
Zach Parise  Interference against  Chris Drury
08:23
NYR
Wade Redden  Hooking against  Zach Parise
19:53
NJD
Travis Zajac  Tripping against  Chris Drury
3rd Period
02:53
NYR
Jody Shelley  Interference against  Bryce Salvador
17:13
NYR
Jody Shelley  Misconduct (10 min)
goalie stats
Henrik Lundqvist
SA: 17TOI: 35:19
Saves: 12EV: 10 - 14
PIM: 0PP: 0 - 1
SV%: .706SH: 2 - 2
Alex Auld
SA: 10TOI: 24:41
Saves: 9EV: 7 - 8
PIM: 0PP: 2 - 2
SV%: .900SH: 0 - 0
Martin Brodeur
SA: 19TOI: 59:56
Saves: 16EV: 13 - 16
PIM: 0PP: 3 - 3
SV%: .842SH: 0 - 0