It seems that no matter what the Rangers do, mediocrity is bound to find them.
Defenseman Eric Gelinas' long-range slap shot on a power play with 3:45 left in overtime eked its way past Henrik Lundqvist's outstretched right glove to give the Devils a 4-3 win over the Rangers Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.
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For the Rangers (15-14-1), it was their latest failed attempt to move two games over .500 and their third loss to the Devils in three tries this season. It was the first of a franchise-record nine-game homestand for the Rangers.
Chris Kreider's power-play goal with 21 seconds left in regulation tied the score for the Rangers. After Travis Zajac flipped the puck over the glass with 1:11 to go, Kreider corralled the rebound of Ryan McDonagh's shot and chipped it over Martin Brodeur (21 saves).
But the Devils had the man advantage 1:02 into overtime after Ryan Callahan drew a double- minor for high sticking. Gelinas scored 13 seconds later.
"It was a big point," said Lundqvist, who had 20 saves. "We just didn't get the bounces tonight."
Afterward, there was concern for defenseman Marc Staal, who has a concussion history. He left in the third period and didn't return after taking a hit from Reid Boucher. After heading off the ice, Staal slammed his helmet down in frustration.
"He didn't feel quite right, so they're evaluating him now and we'll know [more today]," coach Alain Vigneault said. "There's concern for any player when a situation like that happens."
The Devils fell behind 2-0, but a controversial goal by Cam Janssen revived them 6:02 into the second period. Zajac scored the equalizer on a rebound of Jaromir Jagr's shot 5:58 into the third. Then, with 4:04 left in regulation, Michael Ryder deked John Moore at the blue line, skated in and snapped a shot between Lundqvist's pads.
"All that we gave up were two little mistakes that were Grade A chances that ended up in the back of our net," Vigneault said. "Other than that, we played a solid period overall and Cally got careless with the stick -- four-minute penalty and the game is over."
It was a stark reversal of fortunes sparked by a curious sequence and a controversial second-period goal.
Charging in off Brodeur's pass, Tim Sestito sent a pass to Janssen, who was cutting to the crease. The puck went in off Janssen's skate at 6:02, but a video review in Toronto determined it was a good goal, giving the Devils their first score and drawing a theatrical show of disbelief by Lundqvist.
"I thought it was a kick, but it doesn't matter," he said. "They got it. It's a frustrating loss."
Brad Richards scored his ninth at 3:32 of the first period to make it 1-0. Mats Zuccarello scored 57 seconds into the second to put the Rangers ahead 2-0. Zuccarello, who has been a keen facilitator and one of a handful of streaking Rangers in an otherwise uneven offense, has 10 points in the last eight games and 20 this season.