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Dramatic win keeps Rangers in playoff hunt

The Rangers' Erik Christensen scores the shootout winner

The Rangers' Erik Christensen scores the shootout winner against Devils netminder Martin Brodeur to give the Rangers a crucial 4-3 victory. (Mar. 25, 2010) Credit: AP

Chris Drury scored the tying goal with 16.5 seconds left in regulation and Erik Christensen had the only tally in the shootout as the New York Rangers shook off three deficits and gave their playoff hopes another boost with a 4-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.

Christensen scored on the first attempt of the shootout, and Henrik Lundqvist made it stand up with saves against Zach Parise, Patrik Elias and Travis Zajac. The Rangers, 10th in the Eastern Conference, won for the second straight night and moved within three points of eighth-place Boston and five behind No. 7 Philadelphia.

Jamie Langenbrunner and Elias both scored tiebreaking goals in the third for the Devils, who regained first place in the Atlantic Division over Pittsburgh.

Drury, known as one of the NHL’s most clutch players, tied it for a third time after a Rangers timeout and the season on the brink. Christensen sent a blind, backhanded pass from the end boards in front to Drury, who slammed in his 12th goal of the season from the front edge of the crease.

Langenbrunner put the Devils ahead for a third time when after a bad Rangers line change the New Jersey captain ripped a drive past Lundqvist with 7:23 left. Elias, who seconds earlier was stopped on a breakaway, made it 2-1 early in the period.

The Rangers got even at 2 when Artem Anisimov scored with 9:40 remaining. Brandon Dubinsky also scored for New York. Lundqvist made 35 saves.

Elias, stopped by Lundqvist during a short-handed breakaway in the second, took a crisp pass in the slot from David Clarkson and fired in a one-timer to give the Devils a 2-1 lead at 3:53.

New Jersey is tied in points with Pittsburgh, but is atop the division with one more win than the Penguins. The Devils, who also got a goal from Ilya Kovalchuk, have nine games remaining. Pittsburgh has eight left.

Martin Brodeur made 28 saves for the Devils, who would have earned a playoff berth with a win.

The Rangers, outshot 8-4 in the opening 20 minutes, were fortunate to escape the period down only 1-0. New Jersey came out with lots of jump against New York, which earned a 5-0 win on Wednesday night over the rival Islanders, and grabbed the lead 5:31 in on Kovalchuk’s 38th goal.

The Rangers played a much stronger second period, increasing their forechecking pressure in the New Jersey zone. They got even on their first power-play chance.

Avery kept the puck alive along the left wing wall and moved it Dubinsky, who then played a two-man game with defenseman Michael Del Zotto at the blue line. Dubinsky took a return pass in the left circle and snapped a shot through traffic that beat Brodeur at 7:32 of the second. It was the Rangers’ 10th power-play goal in 10 games.

NOTES: Del Zotto and Avery, who assisted on Dubinsky’s goal, both have points in three consecutive games. ... Rangers RW Ryan Callahan limped off early in the second period. He returned for one brief shift soon after, but then missed the rest of the game. ... Elias has five points — one goal, four assists — in his past two games.


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