NEW YORK -- Once again, the fourth line of the New Jersey Devils provided the necessary spark at the most opportune time.
With the second period winding down and the New York Rangers seemingly in control and clinging to a one-goal lead, Ryan Carter deflected a shot past Henrik Lundqvist with just 1:51 left to pull the visitors into a tie and provide just the impetus required in an eventual 3-2 triumph in Game 2 at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.
RANGERS VS. DEVILS
Devils even series with 3-2 win
By Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer David Clarkson's redirection goal early in third period lifted the Devils to a 3-2 victory over the Rangers Wednesday at Madison Square Garden, tying the Eastern Conference Finals at one game apiece. READ MORE ›
The goal was Carter's second of the postseason and, perhaps, the most important of his career to this point.
"The time of goal was huge … going into third, tied 2-2," Devils captain Zach Parise said. "That late goal takes away the crowd. That line has been playing well all playoffs and getting timely goals. Not only that, they wear teams down. It's good to see them get rewarded like that."
Carter, who was stationed between the circles, redirected a shot from the point by Bryce Salvador. Steve Bernier also had an assist on the play.
In 14 playoff games, New Jersey's fourth line of Carter, Bernier and center Stephen Gionta has accounted for six goals, 12 points and a plus-9 rating.
"Your fourth line gets out there and crashes and bangs and creates some momentum and scores a big goal," Devils coach Pete DeBoer said. "It's been the story of the playoffs. We've had somebody different every night."
David Clarkson, who connected for the game-winner just 2:31 into the third to snap a 2-2 tie, said Carter's goal was huge.
"Carts' goal was huge for us," he said. "Just to get us the tie going into the third … it was big. It's funny, when you get a goal like that and get the lead. We then did a good job in our zone to not let them get back in it."
The Devils outshot the Rangers, 10-8, over the final 20 minutes en route to evening the best-of-seven series, 1-1.
"You just never know where it's going to come from," Devils goalie Martin Brodeur said. "And these [fourth line] guys have been really good for us."
Carter, Gionta and Bernier chipped in with two points, six hits and a plus-2 rating in Game 2 against the Rangers.