NEW YORK -- New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer had the perfect plan in place when his team was given a power play in overtime against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.
"We wanted Eric Gelinas to shoot and Steve Bernier in front of the net with a screen," he said. "It's not rocket science."
It might not be rocket science, but it was a rocket off the stick of Gelinas from the right point that beat Henrik Lundqvist inside the right post 1:15 into OT to give the Devils a 4-3 victory.
"Probably the biggest one of my career, besides my first one [in his first game on Oct. 24]," Gelinas said. "It was a great feeling."
The Devils rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the second to take a 3-2 lead late in the third when Michael Ryder's wrist shot from the right circle beat Lundqvist through the five-hole, snapping a 2-2 tie. The Rangers pulled even when Chris Kreider scored off a backhand in the slot with 21.3 seconds left in regulation with his team on a 6-on-4 advantage with Lundqvist pulled and Travis Zajac in the penalty box for delay of game.
"We were facing a bit of adversity, playing our 11th game in 18 nights and battling through some tough losses this week," DeBoer said. "We had every reason to pack it in down 2-0, but I thought we really showed a lot of character."
On the OT winner, Gelinas took a cross-ice feed from Patrik Elias and wasted no time in firing home his third of the season.
"I've said from the first game … Gelly got the chance and he has grabbed it," Devils forward Jaromir Jagr said. "With the way he plays, he might be a superstar in this League if he keeps working."
Lundqvist, who allowed two goals on three shots in the third period, acknowledged that he didn't pick up Gelinas' shot until it was too late.
"I need to try and be patient and wait for the shot there," he said. "I don't know really how it went in. I thought I had it. Even though it is a high screen, I have to be able to pick it up."
Rangers captain Ryan Callahan was given a double-minor for high-sticking defenseman Andy Greene 1:02 into overtime, giving Gelinas the chance to be the hero.
"I come out to block the shot and he beats me wide," Callahan said. "My intent is to swing around and get his stick, but it comes up too high and catches him. It's a bad penalty, it costs us a point. There's no other way to put it."
Zajac's fifth goal of the season pulled the Devils into a 2-2 tie 5:58 into the third. Jagr made the play happen when he curled around the net while holding off defenseman Ryan McDonagh before unleashing a strong backhand that ricocheted off the pads of Lundqvist and right to Zajac. The assist was Jagr's first point in five games.
"I wanted to go top shelf on the backhand, but lost the puck," Jagr said with a grin.
The victory snapped a three-game losing streak for the Devils (12-13-6) and a personal four-game skid for Martin Brodeur (21 saves). New Jersey visits the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday.
The loss was the third in five games for the Rangers (15-14-1), who play the second of a nine-game homestand on Sunday against the Washington Capitals.
Brodeur notched his 49th win in his 99th career game against the Rangers in what could turn out to be his last appearance at MSG. It's possible the 41-year-old Brodeur, who is in the final year of his contract, could call it a career at the end of the season.
The next game between the Devils and Rangers will be at Yankee Stadium as part of the 2014 NHL Coors Light Stadium Series on Jan. 26. The Hudson River rivals have been separated by two goals or less in 17 of their past 24 games.
"It would have been easy to pack it in, but we stuck with it and got through it and emptied the tank," Greene said.
The Devils pulled within 2-1 in the second when a pass by Tim Sestito in the left circle deflected off the skate of Cam Janssen in the crease and past Lundqvist (20 saves) at 6:02. After a brief review, the referee ruled that Janssen, who was off-balance, didn't deliberately kick the puck into the net.
"I wanted to make sure I didn't have too much of a kicking motion because I knew I got get my stick down there," Janssen said. "I tried to stop and hope it would hit my blade. I just couldn't have that kicking motion."
Brodeur was called upon to make a couple of big saves early in the third and the Rangers working the power play. He stopped Brad Richards at 3:33 and then denied a wrist shot by Rich Nash moments later.
The Rangers lost defenseman Marc Staal 6:41 into the third after he took a shoulder to his upper body from rookie Reid Boucher. Staal immediately got up and stormed off the ice and didn't return.
"He took a shoulder to the chin and didn't feel quite right," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "[The medical staff] is evaluating him. There's concern with any player when a situation like that happens. We'll know more [Sunday]."
The Rangers took a 2-0 lead 57 seconds into the second when Mats Zuccarello blasted a long rebound past Brodeur from the left circle. Brad Richards extended his point scoring streak to six games in the first when he ripped a shot from the left circle at 3:32 of the first period.
The Devils were without defenseman Marek Zidlicky, who was ruled out during pregame warmups with an upper-body injury. Peter Harrold was inserted into the lineup for the first time in six games.
"We knew we were going to need some depth contributions," DeBoer said. "We got them from Janssen, the fourth line [Sestito-Andrei Loktionov-Janssen], from Peter Harrold. We needed a lot of energy, and those guys gave it to us."
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter: @mikemorrealeNHL