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Rangers Earn Point in Physical Affair With Devils

Blueshirts fall to New Jersey, 3-2, in overtime

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

NEWARK -- Tuesday's edition of Rangers Devils took 35 minutes to get going, but ultimately turned in a thrilling final 30 minutes of hockey.

And despite the 3-2 overtime loss, it was a game the Rangers felt they could hang their hats on.

"I thought it was a good hockey game," said Rick Nash, whose third period power play goal tied the game, 2-2, before Joseph Blandisi scored with 55 seconds remaining in overtime to give the Devils the win. "It's ones we'd like to come out on top, but we didn't tonight."

After little was generated through the first 35:16, the fireworks were began when John Quennville scored his first NHL goal with 4:44 left in the second period to put the Devils up 1-0.

Video: NYR@NJD: Lindberg finishes Buchnevich's feed

The Rangers' deficit was short, though, as Oscar Lindberg evened the score 1:37 later when his off-speed shot beat Cory Schneider. Ryan McDonagh kept the puck in the Devils zone and put it behind the Devils net, where Pavel Buchnevich scooped it up. Buchnevich sent a pass in front that Lindberg buried for the goal.

The goal was Lindberg's seventh of the season and second in as many games.

New Jersey would have a quick answer of its own when Taylor Hall converted on a Kyle Palmieri pass with a wrist shot from the faceoff circle that beat Antti Raanta top-shelf to give New Jersey a 2-1 lead.

The Rangers and Devils turned the clock back in the final minute of the second period. Nick Holden leveled Miles Wood with a clean hit near the Devils' bench. Wood, though, took exception to the check and went after Holden, leading to a scrap.

Vesey and Blake Coleman also dropped the gloves, while others on the ice were tangled in scrums as well.

All four players were given five-minute majors for fighting, but Wood was given an extra minor for instigating and a 10-minute misconduct with 17 seconds left.

Video: NYR@NJD: Nash slides home backhander for PPG

New York made the most of the power play given to Wood. Kevin Hayes fed Nash at the top of the goal crease, and the winger was able to slip a backhand shot between Schneider's legs to even the score 2-2 1:21 into the third period.

The goal snapped a nine-game goal drought for Nash.

"I was trying to throw it on net," Nash said of his goal before adding that Rangers Associate Coach Scott Arniel said Schneider was prone to opening the five-hole. "Kevin made a great pass and J.T. was yelling on the backdoor and I think it kind of threw those guys over and the goalie. Luckily the five-hole opened up."

New York outshot the Devils 17-9 in the third period and hit two posts by Derek Stepan and Mats Zuccarello, but could not beat Schneider before the game headed to overtime.

New Jersey's lone shot of the overtime came on Blandisi's winner. Quennville led a 2-on-1 with Blandisi, whom he hit in the slot. The forward deked around Raanta and slid the puck into the net for the victory.

"That's how the three-on-three usually is," Raanta said. "If you miss the net or if you stay a little bit too long there or the other guys are fresh … you get speed and you get a 2-on-1. You pretty much saw the pass coming. [McDonagh] was playing it pretty good. The pass came and I just tried to be there but he did a little dangle and put it into the empty net." 

The Rangers inched closer to a playoff spot, bringing their magic number to clinch down to seven points either earned by themselves, or lost by tomorrow's opponent, the New York Islanders.

And while the postseason is roughly three weeks away, Tuesday had the feel of more than just a regular season contest.

"It was kind of a playoff atmosphere, a playoff feel to this game," Nash said. "Tomorrow is going to feel even more like one."

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