NEWARK - Until Tuesday night, Kevin Klein hadn't had the best start to the season.
In the first six games, the Rangers defenseman inadvertently redirected two pucks past his own goaltender, took a shot in the chin that required stitches on Sunday, and earlier Tuesday night had a shot glance off his body past Lundqvist again.
But at Prudential Center in the wake of a significant rally by the Blueshirts, Klein, wearing the black Broadway Hat, couldn't contain his grin.
He had scored his first goal of the season -- and the first by any Rangers defenseman -- at 2:42 of overtime Tuesday night to cap a huge 4-3 comeback win by the Blueshirts, who trailed the Devils 3-1 early in the third period.
"That's a little redemption for that one that went off my butt in the second period," said Klein, who took a drop pass from Chris Kreider between the circles and snapped a 19-foot shot past Cory Schneider to extend the Rangers' winning streak to three. The goal finished what Rick Nash and Henrik Lundqvist called a "character" victory.
"Great pass, right in my wheelhouse," said Klein, who got his first OT goal after playing in parts of 10-plus seasons.
Klein, who was acquired from Nashville last Jan. 22 for Michael Del Zotto, scored his only other goal as a Ranger on March 11.
"I had more time than I thought. Kreids gave me a great pass and you just try to get your head up and put it where you want." Klein said. Obviously, the win and the way we came back was resilient. When we were down 3-1, the guys kept pushing it forward, doing all the things we do that make us successful."
It was a very unlikely comeback in a game dominated by special teams. The Rangers (4-3) fell behind early in the third after Kreider dumped Adam Henrique in front with 47.3 seconds left in the second period. The Devils' fourth power play carried into the third, and just 36 seconds in, defenseman Jon Merrill rifled a shot off Lundqvist and in for the 3-1 lead and third goal with the man advantage.
But the Rangers didn't cave.
"We were in a tough spot," said Lundqvist, who finished with 28 saves. "We looked straight down and worked really hard. I think after we got the second goal, we got so much energy and forechecked really well. Strong finish. It means a lot to this group, especially early on to get points like this. We should be really happy, not only for the points, but the way this can build character in this room."
First Chris Mueller fired in his first as a Ranger from between the circles after a pass from Ryan McDonagh at 9:06 of the third to trim the lead to 3-2. Nash scored his eighth goal of the season at 14:32 after a turnover by Devils defenseman Mark Zidlicky to tie it.
As significant as the rally was for the Rangers, the defeat was deflating for the Devils, (3-2-1), who lost their third straight. "Up 3-1 we've got to find a way to just shut it down and tighten up our game there," Henrique said.
The teams traded power-play goals in the first. Kreider scored his first of the season -- as well as the team's first with the man advantage after going 0-for-17, netting a rebound of McDonagh's shot at 7:34.
Jaromir Jagr tied it with a putback at 13:40 for his 706th goal. The Devils took a 2-1 lead in the second when Jagr fed Henrique at the left dot, and he swept a one timer past Lundqvist's stick at 14:55.
"They moved the puck really well on the power play," said Lundqvist, "but so did we."
In the end, Klein emerged, for once, as the hero. "He took one to the face the last game, it's like he's a magnet right now," Lundqvist said. "But he works so hard, and it was amazing the way he finished this one. Bounces are going to happen, let's get them out of the way early on."