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A simple plan brings sweet payoff for Madden

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils

John Madden's scoring touch has produced a team-leading two goals, including Sunday's OT winner at Madison Square Garden.

email – John Madden was just trying to get the puck to the front of the net.

A simple strategy led to a lucky bounce, and just like that the Devils were back in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal against the New York Rangers.

Madden's attempt caromed off the skate of Marc Staal and through Henrik Lundqvist to seal the Devils' 4-3 overtime victory Sunday night at Madison Square Garden. New Jersey trails two games to one in its best-of-seven series and will look to draw even in Wednesday's Game 4 at MSG.

Madden's first of the postseason cut the Devils' deficit in half with under two minutes left in Game 2.
"We talked about it before we went out there in overtime, to get pucks to the net," Madden told WFAN's Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts on Monday. "Fortunately for us, we got a victory out of it."

The Devils gave up a 3-2 lead early in the third period, but prevailed in the extra session to avoid falling behind 0-3 in the series. The club's first four-goal surge in seven games led to its second defeat of the Rangers in four meetings, including a shootout victory in the regular-season finale.

"We talked about it. We said we had to win this game. You go behind 3-0 and its tough to come back from," Madden said. "We came out with a good effort and we got some bounces, and that was the key to the game. We capitalized on some of our chances."

After going 1-for-9 with the man advantage through the first two games, the Devils made the most of their opportunities in Game 3.

The Rangers couldn't stay out of the penalty box in the second period, and New Jersey's power play responded with its first two-goal performance in 29 games (2-for-8).

"That was huge. It started with Patrik Elias coming in off the point and knocking down the puck. He made a nice shot to [tie the game]. But Zach Parise had a goal that rolled up over Lundqvist, so we got bounces as well and that's nice to see."

Both Elias and Parise were go-to players for New Jersey during the regular season, tying for the team lead in game-winning goals (8). Elias and Paul Martin currently lead the team with a goal and two assists apiece this postseason, while Madden (2g) and Parise (1g-1a) each have two points.

Now the Devils hope to ride their road momentum to a second straight triumph. The fifth Battle of the Hudson has seen the road team win each of the first three games, a trend that bodes well for Madden's squad in Game 4.

"We have our confidence up," he said. "We've finally scored some goals on Lundqvist and we have to keep going. We have to keep forechecking and creating turnovers, and we have to keep throwing pucks on net. Anytime we get pucks to the net, good things happen."
With the Devils' outlook taking a positive turn following their first win of the 2008 playoffs, a win Wednesday would restore home ice advantage for New Jersey. Game 5 is set for Friday night at Prudential Center.

"We've definitely competed with them," Madden said. "At times we've felt like we've outplayed them and other times that they've outplayed us. The key is that we feel that we've had enough opportunities to score to win hockey games. That's the good feeling that we have in our locker room."

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