|Nigel Dawes continues to come up big for the Rangers, as he scored the game-winner with his shoulder in New York's 3-2 win over New Jersey - their seventh victory against the Devils this season.
Highlights from the Rangers win
As time ran out, the sellout crowd at Madison Square Garden taunted the New Jersey Devils
with chants of “You can’t beat us!” For the seventh time in as many games this season, they were right.
The New York Rangers made it 7-for-7 against their cross-river rivals with a 3-2 victory on Tuesday night. It’s the longest winning streak by either team against the other since the Devils moved to New Jersey from Colorado in 1982.
"Against a team like this I think what wins out is to try and stay composed and poised and work hard within our structure," Rangers coach Tom Renney said. "It seems as games go on against these guys, we believe in that even more so. When it comes to the wire, we almost get a rush from it."
The victory also pulled the teams even in the Eastern Conference standings with 91 points, though the Devils are fifth and the Rangers sixth because New Jersey has two more victories. But the Devils have lost their last five games overall — their longest losing streak since November 2000 — and have fallen from first place to fifth in the East in the process.
“We’ve lost five in a row, it’s a concern,” Devils coach Brent Sutter said. “Especially the way we’ve lost games.”
The way they lost this one really had to hurt. The Rangers broke a 2-2 tie with 3:06 left in regulation when Nigel Dawes scored while sliding on his back into Devils goalie Martin Brodeur. A pass by Chris Drury, who assisted on all three Rangers goals, hit the skate of Devils defenseman Sheldon Brookbank and caromed in on Brodeur. He steered the puck into the onrushing Dawes, who was on the ice after being knocked down by New Jersey's Travis Zajac. Both skaters crashed the crease, with Dawes pushing the puck over the line with his shoulder.
The goal stood after a video review.
''I was just kind of mad I got hooked,'' Dawes said. ''That's the craziest goal I've probably scored in my career. I'll take it. It's a huge two points. Good things happen when you go to the net like that.”
The Devils spent most of the last two minutes in the Rangers’ zone but were unable to get the tying goal past Henrik Lundqvist, who made 32 saves to improve to 7-0-0 with an 0.98 goals-against average against the Devils this season. He is 8-0-1 lifetime in nine games against New Jersey at the Garden. The Rangers also became the first team to beat Brodeur seven times in a season.
“We did enough good things to win tonight, but we still found a way to lose the game,” Sutter said. “We let the game get away from us. We have to find ways to win games.”
Through 40 minutes, it looked like the Devils were going to end their drought against the Rangers.
Brendan Shanahan put New York in front with a power-play goal at 5:21 of the second period, one-timing a feed from Scott Gomez past Brodeur. But the Devils began to forecheck better and tied the game when Patrik Elias deflected Paul Martin’s shot from the point past Lundqvist at 11:38. With New Jersey continuing to dominate play, Zach Parise capitalized on a giveaway by defenseman Christian Backman to beat Lundqvist at 18:13 and send the Devils off the ice with a 2-1 lead.
But the Rangers, who beat the Devils 2-1 in a shootout last week after trailing 1-0 going to the third period, weren’t worried.
"We talked about it before the third period that we had come back against them in the third last time. We knew it, and they knew it," said Lundqvist, who earned his 35th victory of the season. "So we came out extremely confident in the third period."
Backman atoned for his gaffe early in the third period, beating Brodeur with a power-play wrist shot from the top of the left circle at 1:38. The goal seemed to inspire the Rangers, who took control of the game. Only Brodeur’s heroics — including a sensational glove save on Ryan Callahan’s breakaway with 5:42 to play — kept the game tied until Dawes’ goal.
''We played extremely well for the first two periods,” said Brodeur, who has been in goal for all seven losses — four in regulation, one in overtime and two in shootouts. “We were on the ball, and we finally scored some goals. We had the momentum. They played better than we did in the third.
''The ones in the shootout are one thing. When you lose in regulation, on a lucky goal like that, it's tough to digest.''
Material from wire services and team online and broadcast media was used in this report.