Whatever has ailed the New Jersey Devils in this up-and-down season, the best tonic to date seems to be playing the New York Rangers. The Devils stayed perfect against their cross-river rivals this year with a 4-3 overtime victory on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.
After Michael Ryder gave the Devils their first lead of the night with four minutes remaining in regulation, Chris Kreider tied it for the home side in the final minute on a power play after Travis Zajac had been penalized for delay of game for inadvertently shooting the puck over the glass.
It ended quickly in overtime.
After Rangers captain Ryan Callahan was whistled off early in the extra session on a double minor for high-sticking Andy Greene, Eric Gelinas one-timed a Patrik Elias cross-ice pass past a screened Henrik Lundqvist from the right point just 13 seconds later.
The goal gave New Jersey its first win in four games overall and its third straight triumph against the Rangers.
"Lundqvist [who had 20 saves] didn’t really see it," said Gelinas of his blast to Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger (h/t NJ.com). "I got lucky and it went in."
Don't tell his teammates that.
“The way he plays, he might be a superstar in this league if he keeps working,” said Devils veteran Jaromir Jagr.
“He’s not scared of shooting it,” added Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, who made 21 saves to win his second game vs. the Rangers this season. The victory also put New Jersey within a point of New York in the Eastern Conference standings.
The Devils blanked the Rangers 4-0 at the Prudential Center in October as Cory Schneider recorded the shutout, and they edged New York last month at MSG by a 3-2 count on a late goal by Dainius Zubrus.
Brad Richards and Mats Zuccarello-Aasen staked the Rangers to a 2-0 lead by the second minute of the second period on Saturday, before the Devils tied it on goals by Cam Janssen (his third of the season) and Zajac. Callahan had two assists for the Rangers, while Tim Sestito and Jagr did likewise for the visiting Devils. You can see the Janssen, Ryder and Gelinas goals via ESPN.
Jagr drew the second assist on the game-winning goal by Gelinas, who joined the Devils from Albany (AHL) in late October and has stuck ever since.
"He took the chance he got," said Jagr. "Some guys fail, but he grabbed it.”
The two teams will next meet outdoors at Yankee Stadium on Jan. 26 as part of the NHL Stadium Series.