NEWARK -- This was a matchup of the two youngest rosters in the National Hockey League, but it wasn't long before old animosities took over.
For the third time this season the Rangers climbed back from a two-goal deficit against the Devils, but this year's final Hudson River Rivalry game took on a sandier texture as well as a different ending than the others, with New Jersey - playing its 2018-19 home finale - scoring the late tiebreaking goal that sent the Rangers to a 4-2 loss to the Devils on Monday night in a game in which the temperature steadily kept rising.
A pair of Ranger rookies scored the goals that brought the Blueshirts level, Brett Howden rifling one home late in the first period and Filip Chytil tying things up on a second-period power play for the league's youngest team (average age 25.7). But Devils defenseman Connor Carrick scored with 4:10 remaining in regulation to assure the Devils (average age 25.9) of closing out their 2018-19 home schedule with a win, and spoiling the Rangers' plans for a season sweep of their cross-river rivals.
Henrik Lundqvist made 37 saves to give the Rangers, down 2-0 after less than 15 minutes had been played, a chance to climb back in the game and take a tie into the third period. Howden's goal made it four straight games with a point, the longest streak in the rookie's career, and Connor Brickley picked up an assist in his return to the lineup, along with Neal Pionk, Vinni Lettieri, and Tony DeAngelo's 16th assist in his last 23 games.