The New York Rangers played a solid game against division rival New Jersey Devils tonight in Newark. However, an unlucky bounce and a few misplays cost them the win, as the Rangers fell to the Devils in a shootout 4-3.
The Rangers did not trail once this game. The first period was quiet for the first 19 minutes until Rangers rookie defenseman Anton Stralman snapped a wrist shot past Devils' goaltender Martin Brodeur with 43 seconds left in the period to give the Rangers the lead heading into the first intermission.
The Devils answered in the second with a Zach Parise snap shot that got past Rangers backup goaltender Martin Biron to tie the score at one.
The third period was an offensive explosion for both teams. The scoring started three minutes into the period when Rangers center Brian Boyle made Brodeur look silly, causing him to spin and twist to no avail as he notched his fourth goal of the season.
Thirteen minutes later the Devils answered with one of their best scorers. Rangers captain Ryan Callahan attempted to take the puck into his zone rather than clear it down the ice on a Devils power play, but was stopped allowing Ilya Kovalchuk to take advantage on the breakaway and score.
Only 36 seconds later, the Rangers took the lead again, this time off a laser by defenseman Michael Del Zotto.
The game looked to be in the books with a minute to go with the Rangers up by one. Or so they thought. The Devils pulled Brodeur to get their extra skater on the ice.
During the six on five, the Devils shot the puck into the Rangers' zone from the red line, which careened off of the boards and took a wicked bounce in front of Biron. The puck fell right on the stick of the Devils' David Clarkson and a wrist shot later, the Devils tied the game with 48 seconds remaining.
No overtime goals were scored so the teams headed to a shootout. The Devils had been spectacular in shootouts this season unlike the Rangers. Tonight would be no different.
The Devils started with Ilya Kovalchuk who once again scored on Biron, this time through his five hole putting the Devils up one to nothing. The Rangers elected Derek Stepan to take the first attempt for them. He was able to get a decent shot off past Brodeur, but unfortunately it sailed over the net.
After Biron stopped Parise and Patrik Elias and Brodeur stopped the Rangers' Brad Richards, it was all up to Rangers top scorer Marion Gaborik. Gaborik moved in on Brodeur with great speed, but could not get a good enough shot off.
The Rangers lost the shootout 1-0 and the game 4-3. While it is tough for the Rangers to return from the All-Star Break with a loss, they do muster up a point in the effort.
Sloppy play led to two of the Devils' goals, including the game tier with under a minute left in the third. Both teams showed some post All-Star break rust and made some critical mistakes, but the Rangers' ended up costing them.
The Rangers look to shake off this tough loss tomorrow evening against a struggling Buffalo Sabres team at home, then return home again on the weekend for a three game homestand.