The New York Rangers (31-13-4) needed to start the separation process between themselves and the rest of the Eastern Conference, though the Blueshirts earned the point, the 4-3 shootout loss to the New Jersey Devils (27-19-3) could have helped with the process of staring the second half with a bang.
New Jersey just seemed to have an answer for every Blueshirts goal scored in the game, but both Devils keeper Martin Brodeur (23 saves) and Blueshirts cager Martin Biron (26 saves) were up to the task of sending the teams to the shootout frame.
Things started off well for New York as Anton Stralman (2) recorded a wrister at the 19:27 mark to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. Zach Parise (16) tallied a snap shot at the 8:20 mark in the second period to tie the game at one for the Devils.
Both the Devils and Rangers found the back of the net in the third, as Brian Boyle (4) opened the frame with a wrister for New York at the 2:37 mark. A costly penalty allowed New Jersey sniper Ilya Kovalchuk (20) to net a power play snap shot at 15:25.
Michael Del Zotto (6) ripped a wrister at the 16:01 mark, as the blueliner was set-up beautifully on a pass from All-Star MVP Marian Gaborik (16) and resident energizer bunny Carl Hagelin (10). David Clarkson (17) made the game 3-3 for the Devils with his wrister at the 19:12 mark.
Both Gaborik and Hagelin opened up eyes at the All-Star game and finished the night with two assists for the Rangers.
Kovalchuk scored the lone goal in the shootout frame, to lead New Jersey to gaining two vital points, as the Devils are fighting to stay above the playoff cut in the conference.
These two Atlantic Division rivals will meet five more times from now until March 19, including a meeting next Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.
New York will complete back-to-back games with a Wednesday face-off against the Buffalo Sabres. The game against the Rangers and Sabres is set to air on the NBC Sports network, with puck-drop scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Written on February 1, 2012
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