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Rangers rally, edge Flames in shootout

by Tal Pinchevsky

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers forward Benoit Pouliot admitted he had been waiting for some time to use his favorite shootout move. In the Rangers' first shootout in 41 games, Pouliot used that move to help his team get two points.

Pouliot scored in the seventh round of the shootout to lead the Rangers to a 4-3 win against the Calgary Flames at Madison Square Garden Sunday night.

After deking to his left in the shootout, Pouliot fully extended his right arm and tucked the puck into the far end of the net with Flames goalie Karri Ramo out of the play.

"I just went in and I knew I was going to do that. I just had to get the goalie to move with me and then let the arm do the rest," said Pouliot, who used the same move to win a shootout against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Jan. 6, 2011 as a member of the Montreal Canadiens. "I've done it in Montreal and it worked once. Then I tried it afterwards and it didn't work. Tonight I thought I'd try it again, and it worked."

Chris Kreider, Carl Hagelin and Derek Stepan scored in regulation for the Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist made 18 saves. Sean Monahan, Curtis Glencross and Mikael Backlund scored for the Flames; Ramo stopped 29 of 32 shots.

In an exciting shootout, Calgary scored twice with the game hanging in the balance. Lee Stempniak beat Lundqvist glove side after Brad Richards gave New York the lead in the fourth round. Then in Round 6, Paul Byron deked to his backhand and beat Lundqvist between the legs after Dominic Moore scored for the Rangers.

It was New York's first win on its nine-game homestand; the Rangers had gone 0-3-1 through the first four games.

"It was our first shootout of the year and I think a lot of guys showed that they're good in the shootout," Hagelin said. "We have a lot of confidence going into the shootout. We have Hank back there and the players to put the puck in the net. We showed that tonight."

The Rangers made it to the shootout after overcoming deficits of 3-2 and 2-0, with Kreider earning the equalizer at an opportune time.

Down 3-2 in the third, New York struggled to generate offense after Monahan scored the go-ahead score. After mustering one shot in 7:23, Stepan's backhand coming down the wing was stopped by Ramo. Kreider then tied the game when he found the rebound on the doorstep for his eighth of the season with 7:53 remaining in regulation.

Kreider's team-leading sixth goal at home appeared to set up overtime, but each team had an opportunity to end the game on a late power play.

Ramo took a delay-of-game penalty with 3:16 remaining in the third and Mike Cammalleri already off for roughing, giving New York a 5-on-3 advantage. But Kreider took a four-minute high-sticking penalty as Cammalleri's minor expired, negating the advantage and setting up a 4-on-3 power play in overtime that Calgary couldn't capitalize on.

"They had the 5-on-3 late and we did a real good job of killing it. I thought we were going to get some momentum there. We didn't execute good enough in overtime," said Flames captain Mark Giordano. "We were a little bit stationary [on the 4-on-3]. We've got to move better. Their guys did a good job of blocking shots."

New York (16-17-1) bottled up the Flames (13-15-5) early in the third. After failing to register a shot in the first 4:44 of the period, Calgary took a 3-2 lead when Glencross found Monahan alone in front. Lundqvist got a piece of his shot, but not enough as the puck skipped by him into the net for the 19-year-old's 10th of the season.

The goal came after the Rangers had already rallied from a 2-0 first-period deficit. After taking a drop pass on the right wing from Rick Nash, Stepan's shot deflected off Kris Russell's leg and past Ramo low to the far post. Stepan's sixth of the season cut Calgary's lead to 2-1.

New York erased the deficit at 7:29 of the second. Pouliot's shot from the left wing was stopped by Ramo, but Hagelin found the puck behind the net and scored on a wraparound for his sixth of the season to make it 2-2.

"If I get the puck behind the net, I try to make that move," Hagelin said. "It all depends on how the D plays it. Today I was able to get off my check a lot and that's when that opens up."

There was little Lundqvist could do on Calgary's second goal. Anton Stralman's clearing attempt was intercepted by Jiri Hudler, who centered the puck to Glencross. The Flames wing was able to backhand the puck over a sprawling Lundvist for his sixth of the season with 5:00 remaining in the first.

Stepan would respond for the Ranger 25 seconds later to start the comeback.

Calgary got an unlikely first-period boost from its power play, which entered the game having gone 0-for-9 in the previous four games. Despite the recent struggles, it would only take one shot for the Flames' power play to open the scoring. Five seconds after Kreider was whistled for interference, Backlund deflected Russell's point shot past Lundqvist for his fourth of the season 7:28 into the game.

"Hudler helped me out in the faceoff and then Russ made a good heads up play to find my stick in front of the net," Backlund said.

But when the opportunity came for him to keep Calgary alive in the seventh round of the shootout, Backlund couldn't recapture that first-period magic and beat Lundqvist one more time.

"He's a good goalie and made a good save," Backlund said. "I probably should have been a little more patient, but I tried my best. Sometimes it goes in, sometimes it doesn't."

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