Patrik Elias and Sergei Brylin each scored two goals and Martin Brodeur made 35 saves to hand New York its second embarrassing loss in two days. On Saturday night in Toronto, the Maple Leafs routed the Rangers 9-2. “This is great for our confidence, we needed this,” Devils coach Claude Julien said. “This game meant a lot to our hockey club. I thought our guys played well. They were very responsible in following our game plan. The effort was certainly there.”
Jamie Langenbrunner and Zach Parise also scored for New Jersey, two points behind the Rangers for the Atlantic Division lead.
“This was a big divisional game for us,” said Langenbrunner, who also had two assists. “We’ve already dropped two to them this year, so this was big.”
New Jersey’s last two goals were reviewed. At 18:08 of the third period, goalie Kevin Weekes appeared to stop Parise’s shot, but a video review revealed that the puck crossed the goal line. It was Parise’s 11th of the season.
Elias beat Weekes at 14:59 of the third period, but the puck bounced out of the net and play continued for several minutes before a stoppage allowed a review. Elias was credited with his 12th goal and the clock was reset to the point the goal occurred.
Brylin’s second of the game, at 1:49 of the third period, put New Jersey ahead 4-1. Parise carried the puck into the Rangers’ end on a 2-on-1 break and passed to Brylin, who backhanded the puck past Weekes for his sixth goal.
The Devils snapped a three-game losing streak, while the Rangers have lost the two lopsided games after winning five straight.
“We have some soul searching,” New York’s Brendan Shanahan said.
“We have a really good group. I don’t think there is a whole lot of examination needed to know what went wrong the last 48 hours. It is pretty evident. We are a step slow all over the ice which leads to breakdowns, which leads to penalties, which leads to power-play goals for the other team.”
Elias opened the scoring with his 11th goal, beating Weekes on a 5-on-3 power play with 34 seconds remaining in the first period. Elias took a pass from Brian Rafalski in the right faceoff circle and one-timed a shot past Weekes.
“They score on a 5-on-3 and that is game, set and match for a team that is trying to get some traction and trying to find its footing again,” Rangers coach Tom Renney said. “They smelled blood and came after us.”
Langenbrunner scored an unassisted goal at 6:25 of the second period. With the Devils on a power play. Langenbrunner’s shot from just inside the blue line deflected off of Marcel Hossa’s stick and into the net for his 13th goal.
“Our power play has been struggling, especially on the road,” Langenbrunner said. “To score three goals against them gives us confidence and hopefully that will carry over to next week.”
Petr Prucha scored New York’s lone goal at 7:33 of the second. Jaromir Jagr sprung him loose on a breakaway with a long pass through centre ice. Prucha skated in on Brodeur and chipped a backhand shot into the top of the net for his sixth goal.
New Jersey converted another power play chance at 10:05 to go ahead 3-1. Parise forced a turnover in the slot and the puck bounced to Brylin, who slipped it between Weekes’ pads.
Notes: With two forwards scratched, Michael Nylander (flu) and Matt Cullen (sprained knee), the Rangers dressed seven defencemen. They needed all of them when Marek Malik left the game after the first period with a strained groin… The Rangers were playing their seventh game in 11 nights. … New Jersey has allowed 79 goals, the fewest in the Eastern Conference. … The game was the Devils’ first in a string of 10 consecutive contests against Eastern Conference opponents.