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Rangers beat Devils in shootout, 4-3

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) Photo Credit: AP

NEWARK - In a season filled with third-period shortcomings and a 1-6 record in overtime, the Rangers staged their most dramatic comeback last night with a 4-3 shootout win over the Devils and gained a precious bit of ground in their last-ditch playoff chase.

With the Rangers trailing 3-2, Chris Drury forced overtime with 16.8 seconds left in regulation, beating Martin Brodeur at the post after taking a backhand pass from Erik Christensen.

"Chris won the faceoff, Michael [Del Zotto] at the point got it in deep and I just threw it in front. Didn't have time to look," Christensen said.

He also scored the lone goal - which had to be reviewed after the puck hit two posts - in the three-round shootout.

"I was sure it was in," said Christensen, who played 22:06 and set up several near-goals by teammates. "It hit one post, then the twine, then the other. I heard two dings."

The two dings led to two points, which brightened the Blueshirts' confidence and slim playoff hopes. The eighth-place Bruins lost, and the Rangers, with 75 points, moved to within three points of Boston with nine games to play. The Rangers are five behind the seventh-place Flyers and close the season with a home-and-home against Philadelphia.

Henrik Lundqvist, who made 35 saves, including six in overtime, forced the shootout with a brilliant save on Ilya Kovalchuk from three feet away with 1:40 left in overtime. He stopped Zach Parise's five-hole attempt, gloved Patrik Elias' riser and secured the two points with a stop on Travis Zajac, and the Rangers left for tomorrow's game in Toronto a happy bunch.

"Hank was outstanding," said Del Zotto, who had two assists. "It's a relief when he's back there to bail you out. He makes you more confident."

Drury's 12th goal of the season, which came just 10 seconds after coach John Tortorella called a timeout for assistant coach Mike Sullivan to draw up a play, sent the Rangers' bench into a frenzy.

Drury won the faceoff, and Del Zotto decided to throw the rolling puck low rather than set up Michal Rozsival for a shot.

"Heckuva play by DZ," Drury said. "Every team works to set up the one-timer, but teams are so well-coached, it rarely happens. It was a heck of a play by Erik."

The Rangers battled back to tie after trailing 1-0 and 2-1, but in the third period, just seconds after Lundqvist stopped Elias' breakaway, Jamie Langenbrunner ripped a shot past the goalie's right arm at 12:37. That set the stage for the comeback.

"Artie's goal was big, too," said Tortorella, referring to rookie center Artem Anisimov, who netted his second goal in two nights. He grabbed Brandon Prust's rebound and waited for an opening to beat Brodeur to pull the Rangers into a 2-2 tie at 9:40 of the third.

The Rangers were fortunate to survive a sloppy first period down 1-0. Brandon Dubinsky scored at 7:32 on a power play in the second and Elias restored the lead at 2-1 at 3:53 in the third.

Ryan Callahan was out for the third period after re-injuring his left leg on a check. Marian Gaborik was largely ineffective and Olli Jokinen was benched for most of the period.

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