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In Brodeur-Lundqvist duel, Rangers fall to Devils

The Devils' Patrik Elias celebrates after scoring the

The Devils' Patrik Elias celebrates after scoring the shootout-winning goal against Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist on Tuesday night. (January 12, 2010) Credit: Getty Images

If this game was a yardstick for the recent success of the Rangers, the Eastern Conference-leading Devils retain a slim advantage: They have Martin Brodeur and Patrik Elias.

In a scoreless game played at a blistering pace for the last 45 minutes, Brodeur and Henrik Lundqvist offered up a duel for the ages until Elias scored the lone goal of the night in the fourth round of the shootout to give the Devils a thrilling 1-0 win in the latest edition of the Battle of the Hudson last night.

"It was the 'Night of the Goalies'," Ryan Callahan said. "They both played unbelievable. It was a playoff-type atmosphere out there. I thought from the get-go the teams were flying, the crowd was into it. It's tough to get that many shots and not get a win. We had opportunities and so did they. Hat's off to Marty, he played great and Hankie got us a point, too."

It was an Olympian effort at the Garden by netminders who will represent Canada and Sweden in about a month in Vancouver and by Elias, who will captain the Czech Republic team.

Brodeur, who posted his sixth shutout and is among the top three in goals-against-average, made 51 saves and all four in the shootout. Lundqvist stopped all 45 Devils shots and three in the shootout.

"It was fun to play, a lot of action for a zero-zero game, two good teams, fans were really into it," said Lundqvist, who always gets psyched to face Brodeur and is now 15-3-5 against the Devils veteran.

"It's just tough to lose it. We did a lot of good things," Lundqvist said. "As a goalie going into the shootout, I play a big part, so there's some extra frustration. I knew after the first period it was going to be a tight game and you can't afford any mistakes. We didn't create that many big scoring chances, but they were very solid and made it tough for us."

In the first round of the shootout, Erik Christensen failed to get a shot off against Brodeur and Zach Parise was stopped by Lundqvist's blocker. As the crowd chanted "Marty," Brodeur closed his pads to stop Ales Kotalik and Lundqvist got his left pad on Jamie Langenbrunner's wrister. Marian Gaborik, now 2-for-18 in his career in shootouts, slid a backhander that Brodeur turned away and Lundqvist stopped Travis Zajac with his left arm. In the fourth round, Brodeur made a glove save on Brandon Dubinsky before Elias ended it.

The Rangers (22-17-7) just missed winning it in overtime. Gaborik's follow of his own shot got through Brodeur from the right side but trickled off the far post with 56 seconds gone.

Led by Lundqvist, Marc Staal, Ryan Callahan, Chris Drury and Chris Higgins, the Rangers killed a critical five-on-three for 1:39 of the second period when Dubinsky was sent off for slashing and Christensen for roughing.

"I think we only had one shot on net," Devils coach Jacques Lemaire said. "They did a great job."

Rangers coach John Tortorella had wanted the Rangers to be stubborn and patient against the Devils (32-11-1) and for the first period, they were: Forechecking and controlling the neutral zone. But Brodeur was on his A-game early, and as the Rangers pressed, he seemed even sharper.

New York Sports