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Gomez's goal lifts Rangers past Ducks

By Larry Fleisher

PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEW YORK (Ticker) -- The New York Rangers often hear boos from

their home crowd when their power play fails. When it produces

timely goals, they get the opposite reaction.

Scott Gomez scored his first power-play goal of the season with

7:21 remaining in the third period as the Rangers squandered a

pair of leads before posting a 4-2 victory over the Anaheim

Ducks on Tuesday.

Markus Naslund converted a man-advantage chance in the first

period and Fredrik Sjostrom netted a shorthanded tally early in

the second for New York, which improved to 4-1-1 in its last six

contests.

"Really important," Rangers coach Tom Renney said of his team's

man-advantage unit. "The power play has got to click. It's a

great way to wrap up when your power play gets the job done."

Penalty-killer Blair Betts added a shorthanded empty-netter in

the final minute for the Rangers, who reclaimed the lead in the

Atlantic Division, passing the idle New Jersey Devils.

Bobby Ryan scored a power-play goal in the opening period and

Corey Perry tallied late in the second for the Ducks, who fell

to 1-2-0 on their current five-game road trip.

"You've got to win the special-teams battles," Anaheim coach

Randy Carlyle said. "They scored a power-play goal, and then we

were in a situation with a 6-on-4 and we tried to make a 1-on-1

play at the blue line, and that's not the right time or the

right situation to try and make those plays."

Naslund's goal came on New York's first power play of the night,

and the Rangers failed to score on their next five.

"It was weird because it didn't look good," Rangers All-Star

goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said of the power play. "We were

struggling on the power play and we still scored two goals. If

you score two goals on the power play, I think you have to be

pleased with it.

"A lot of parts, we were really struggling and had a tough time

even getting it in the zone. Those two goals, it's not like

they were not really sharp. That's what happens a lot of times.

You can't even get it in the zone, and then suddenly, you make a

couple of plays."

They finally struck again when Naslund backhanded the puck

through the crease to Gomez. Stationed on the doorstep, Gomez

finished the play by putting a backhander over goaltender Jonas

Hiller's left pad.

"I got a little lucky, let's not get crazy," Gomez said. "I

poked that one through. That was all Markus."

While Gomez netted his first power-play tally since March 14,

the Ducks were disappointed in letting it happen.

"It was a 1-on-1 in front of the slot," Hiller said. "I don't

know if he lost the puck. It went right on Gomez's stick and he

had an empty net."

"Those are the plays right now that are going against us,"

Anaheim defenseman Chris Pronger added. "It starts out a

nothing play. Maybe I should have forced it on the wall. When

it goes to (Nikolai) Zherdev, I get caught on the wrong side and

he gets the puck."

Gomez's tally was his first in seven games, and it continued the

trend of New York producing timely power-play goals. In their

last three victories, the Rangers are 5-for-14 with the extra

skater, including Nigel Dawes' game-winner last week against the

New York Islanders on January 13 and captain Chris Drury's

overtime tally in Chicago on Friday.

"They've come at big times and big moments in the game, and

that's what's going to make the difference for us down the

stretch," Drury said.

Entering with the NHL's fourth-worst power-play unit, New York

scored more than one man-advantage goal for the seventh time

this season. It will take a 28-16-4 record into the All-Star

break.

Lundqvist made 32 saves and preserved the tie by making nice

stops on Perry and Drew Miller. He maintained New York's third

one-goal lead of the night by denying Brendan Morrison with just

over two minutes remaining.

Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi received a delay-of-game penalty

with 1:57 remaining, and the Ducks pulled Hiller - who stopped

26 shots - for an extra attacker in the final minute to create a

two-man advantage but could not get the equalizer.

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