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Klein's OT goal completes Rangers rally vs. Devils

by Mike G. Morreale

NEWARK, N.J. -- It isn't often New York Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein finds himself all alone in the slot with the puck on his stick and a chance to win the game.

The veteran of eight seasons made good on that opportunity against the rival New Jersey Devils when he scored with 2:18 remaining in overtime to give the Rangers a 4-3 victory at Prudential Center on Tuesday. It was the third game-winner of Klein's career.

The Rangers, who trailed 3-1 midway through the third period, scored three unanswered goals to win their third straight. The Devils lost their third straight.

"To score in overtime is extra special," Klein said. "The win and the way we came back; it's a very resilient group. It's one of those things that brings a smile to my face. All the guys gave it to me in the pile [after the goal]. That was something special for sure."

Klein's first goal of the season was set up off a rush into the Devils zone by Chris Kreider, who took a pass from Chris Mueller at the blue line before skating into the right circle and dropping a pass for Klein between the circles. The 29-year-old looked up and lined a shot into the left corner of the cage past goalie Cory Schneider.

"[Kreider] did a great job when he cut to the middle and took two guys with him; I just tried to jump into that opening and gave him a little shout," Klein said. "I think he might have saw me beforehand and put it right in my wheelhouse. It was a great pass."

The win was the second in four games for the Rangers when trailing after two periods.

"In this league, it isn't very often that you come back," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "You look at the stats after two periods and any time a team has a lead, I would say the percentage is good that the team keeps it. So to be able to come back after they made it 3-1 against a team that plays real solid defensively is a good thing for us."

After spotting New York a 1-0 lead when Chris Kreider scored a power-play goal 7:34 into the first period, the Devils scored power-play goals by Jaromir Jagr, Adam Henrique and Jon Merrill. The Rangers scored third-period goals by Chris Mueller on the power play, and Rick Nash, before Klein ended the game.

"It's a good sign to find a way to get a point there and make it two in OT," Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh said. "We didn't try to get too pretty or frustrated or try to do things outside our game or structure. We battled and spent some time in our zone for sure, but in the end we were opportunistic in using our speed and skill up front."

Nash scored his eighth goal of the season off a backhand at 14:32 to pull the Rangers into a 3-3 tie. Devils defenseman Marek Zidlicky turned over the puck with an ill-advised pass attempt to Travis Zajac from the left corner to the middle of the ice.

"It was pretty hard to pass; I should know to put it back in the corner, especially when it was 3-2, a tight game," Zidlicky said. "I should have put it back in the corner."

Rangers forward Kevin Hayes stole the pass and ripped a shot from the left circle that Nash cleaned up in the slot. The goal gave him a point in six of the first seven games (nine total).

"I usually find myself a streaky player; when they're going in, they're going in and when they're not they're not," Nash said. "It's definitely puck luck. Half the battle is getting the lucky bounces, and I'm getting them so far."

Merrill's first goal of the season 36 seconds into the third period gave the Devils a 3-1 lead; his quick shot from the right circle went in off goalie Henrik Lundqvist's left arm. Damien Brunner picked up his second assist of the game. The Devils finished 3-for-5 on the power play; the Rangers were 2-for-3.

"If we're going to give up two power-play goals a night, it's going to be hard to win," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said.

The Rangers pulled within 3-2 on a power-play goal by Mueller off a one-timer from the left circle at 9:06 of the third period. McDonagh fed Mueller in the circle before he ripped a shot short side on Schneider. Devils left wing Mike Cammalleri was called for delay of game at 8:44 to give the Rangers their third power-play.

"The [Cammalleri] penalty changed the momentum," DeBoer said. "We need a kill at that point in the game. That's a critical kill. We don't get the kill and momentum shifts and we make a bad decision with the puck after that and it's tied up."

Lundqvist, who has appeared in more games (51) and has more wins (31) and more shutouts (eight) against the Devils than any NHL opponent, made 28 saves. Schneider made 21.

"We should close that one out," said Cammalleri, whose five-game point streak ended. "That's a game we'd like not only to come out with two points, but not let the Rangers grab one. I think the power play gives them a little bit. That's why it's really tough timing on that penalty."

Henrique gave the Devils their first lead late in the second period on a power-play goal from the left circle that beat Lundqvist high on the short side. Henrique collected a feed from Jagr and scored his third goal of the season at 14:55.

Kreider scored when he corralled a rebound off the skate of Martin St. Louis and ripped a shot from the bottom of the left circle that beat Schneider to the short side on the power play. The Devils scored at 13:40 when Jagr gathered a puck off the end boards at the right post and put his first of the season past Lundqvist.

The goal by Jagr was the 706th of his NHL career, two behind Mike Gartner for sixth place on the League list. It was Jagr's 201st power-play goal, one behind Steve Yzerman for 15th all time.

The Devils next play Friday when they host the Dallas Stars on Glenn "Chico" Resch Night. The Rangers will play the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday at Bell Centre.

The Devils and Rangers next play Dec. 27 at Madison Square Garden.


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