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New Jersey Devils vs. New York Rangers @NHLdotcom
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GAME: New Jersey Devils (2-1-0) at New York Rangers (1-1-2).

TIME: Thursday, 7 p.m. EDT.

Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils are still adjusting to the new NHL. That hasn't stopped them from winning.

The Devils will try to continue learning on the fly when they take on the rival New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

With rule changes designed to crack down on obstruction and interference, the Devils' patented neutral zone trap is no longer a defensive option. Instead, a greater emphasis has been put on Brodeur's ability to stop the puck.

In past seasons, Brodeur's biggest challenge on many nights was keeping himself mentally and physically sharp because he faced so few shots.

This season, Brodeur has seen an average of 35 shots in the Devils' first three games, winning two of those contests with strong performances. In 2003-04, Brodeur saw an average of 24.6 shots per game and even fewer (23.3) in 2002-03.

"The onus is certainly going to be more on goaltending," Devils coach Larry Robinson said. "We rely on Marty."

Brodeur was up to the task Saturday night, making 33 saves as the Devils posted a 3-2 overtime win over the Rangers. He improved to 10-1-5 in his last 16 games against New York.

The Rangers have lost three straight following their opening-night win in Philadelphia, and have scored 12 goals in four games overall with half coming on the power play.

Jaromir Jagr and Marcel Hossa scored with the man advantage in Monday's 3-2 loss to Washington.

The Rangers have been outscored 10-6 at even strength, and have looked sloppy on both ends of the ice.

"We're supposed to put the puck deep and try to cycle," Rangers defenseman Darius Kasparaitis said. "We're being too fancy, and our team can't win games like that in this league anymore."

STANDINGS: Devils - 4 points, 1st place (tied), Atlantic Division. Rangers - 4 points, 1st place (tied), Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Devils - Alexander Mogilny, Brian Gionta and Sergei Brylin, 2 goals; Paul Martin, 4 assists and 4 points; Jamie Langenbrunner, 10 PIM. Rangers - Jagr, 3 goals and 5 points; Martin Straka and Michael Nylander, 4 assists; Kasparaitis, 14 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 11): Devils - Power play: 17.6 percent (3 for 17), 17th in the NHL. Penalty killing: 93.7 percent (15 for 16), 9th. Rangers - Power play: 22.2 percent (4 for 18), 7th in NHL. Penalty killing: 88.5 percent (23 for 26), 9th.

GOALTENDERS: Devils - Brodeur (2-1-0, 0 SO, 2.62 GAA); Scott Clemmensen (no record). Rangers - Kevin Weekes (1-1-1, 0 SO, 3.32 GAA); Henrik Lundqvist (0-0-1, 0, 2.85).

SEASON SERIES: Devils, 1-0-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 8; Devils, 3-2, OT. At East Rutherford, N.J., Brian Rafalski, Viktor Kozlov and Mogilny scored for the Devils, who rallied from a two-goal third-period deficit.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Devils - 0-1-0 on the road. Rangers - 0-0-1 at home.

Associated Press
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