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Zibanejad Lifts Rangers to OT Win Over Devils

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

NEWARK, N.J. - Rangers forward Mika Zibanejad picked a big moment to snap a 16-game goal drought when he beat Cory Schneider 1:16 into overtime to lift the Rangers to a 4-3 win Saturday against the Devils.

Zibanejad broke in alone and faked a shot that opened Schneider's legs and the Swede fired it five-hole for his eighth of the season.

 Video: NYR@NJD: Zibanejad fakes, goes five-hole for OT win

"I've been doing that a couple times before and it went in a couple times," Zibanejad said of the move on his goal. "I felt like that was an opportunity to do it. It was nice to see the puck go in."

The goal would not have been possible had it not been for Antti Raanta denying Kyle Palmieri - who had already scored twice - on a breakaway with his skate to keep the overtime going.

"If you can make a couple saves in overtime, you always give your guys a chance to score," Raanta said. "It hit a little bit to the skate and stayed out. Then it was great to see when the puck went on the other end. It was a pretty exciting feeling."

The Rangers jumped out to a 2-0 lead on first period goals by Chris Kreider and Oscar Lindberg, and would have had more had it not been for the play of Schneider, who was superb in the second period when New York outshot New Jersey 17-10.

But Adam Henrique's goal with 1:32 left in the second period swung the momentum in New Jersey's favor. 

The Devils tied the game 27 seconds into the third period on a goal by Palmieri, and took the lead just 47 seconds later on Palmieri's second of the game, which came on the power play.

"It's crazy how fast things could happen in a hockey game," said Raanta, who made 36 saves. "A 2-0 lead can change to 3-2 losing situation."

Video: NYR@NJD: Clendening scores with rocket from the point

Adam Clendening would knot things again when he fired a slap shot from the point through traffic with 4:25 left in the third period.

"Kreids came around the net and their guy tried to get a stick on the pass," Clendening said. "He missed it so I knew he was out of the lane already. I just had to get it off the stick as quick as I could." 

Clendening said after the way the third period began, his goal was an emotional boost for the club.

"The start of the third didn't go as planned," Clendening said, "so to at least get it tied and give ourselves a chance was nice."

The chance was there and the combination of Zibanejad and Raanta made sure it was not in vain.

Video: NYR@NJD: Raanta denies Palmieri's breakaway in OT

"Our guys were on top of the game the whole time," Raanta said. "Even though I felt like 'what's going on right now,' our guys were still putting the pucks deep and we got the goal and we get to OT and a great win."

Raanta has made the most of his spot starts as of late, and has now won his last four starts in which he factored into the decision.

"When you haven't played that much and when you get the chance to play, you always try and get those Ws," Raanta said. "Especially this kind of game when there were so many things going on. A great battle back from 3-2 and then we got to the OT and we score there. It was an unreal feeling. We had lots of fans here so it was great to get a win in here."

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