Ilya Kovalchuk, the best player on the ice so far this afternoon, put the Rangers in a hole twice in the first period, once at the beginning and then at the end. At 2:03, his low shot through a screen was deflected by Nick Palmieri past Lundqvist, playing his 26th consecutive game.
Then, Chris Drury, skating his first shift since Feb. 3 and knee surgery on Feb. 11, drove the net and slid a backhander through Brodeur’s pads at 3:14. That woke up his teammates, who started throwing their weight around. Brian Boyle pounded Henrik Tallinder; Brandon Dubinsky crunched Adam Mair.
Brodeur’s best save came with less than four minutes to play, when he stoned Ruslan Fedotenko, alone in front on a behind the net pass from Dubinsky, with his left pad. But Kovalchuk struck again with 41.8 left, battling around Vinny Prospal just above the left circle and beating Lundqvist.