It was inevitable. You knew it had to come at some point.
For only the second time in 11 regular season and playoff games, the New Jersey Devils got the break in a game against the New York Rangers.
John Madden's centering pass off of the skate of Marc Staal beat Henrik Lundqvist 6:01 into the first overtime period, and the Devils beat the Rangers 4-3 to cut their series deficit to two games to one.
At the start of the game, the Rangers had the momentum, up two games in the series and a loud Madison Square Garden behind them. However, Rangers center Blair Betts gave the puck away in his own end, and after an incredible pad save by Lundqvist, the rebound carromed off of Sergei Brylin's skate and into the Rangers net.
After a review, the goal was allowed, and the Devils took a 1-0 lead. The Rangers came right back, as work behind the net set up Brandon Dubinsky's first career playoff goal, and the Rangers tied the game at one after one period.
The Rangers jumped ahead 2-1 6:50 into the second period. Two quick penalties by the Devils gave the Rangers a lengthy five-on-three powerplay, and Sean Avery, who distracted Martin Brodeur for most of the game, redirected a Scott Gomez pass behind Brodeur for the goal.
After Avery's goal, the Devils dominated the rest of the period. After a controversial penalty on Fedor Tyutin, Patrik Elias beat Lundqvist on a wrist shot to tie the game at two. Later in the third, a scramble in front of the Rangers net led to Zach Parise's first goal of the playoffs, and the Devils finished with a 3-2 lead after two periods.
The Rangers stormed back early in the third. After a penalty to Patrik Elias at the end of the second, Dubinsky's secnd goal of the game tied the score at three, but the Rangers couldn't cash in on any other chances in the third, and the game went into overtime.
Even before the Devils scored, they dominated the overtime period. They outshot the Rangers 5-1 in the extra session, not counting a Brian Gionta shot off of the crossbar minutes before Madden's game winner.
Game four is Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.