Rookies help Rangers down Devils
Rookie defensemen Michael Del Zotto and Matt Gilroy both scored, and the New York Rangers broke out of early power-play woes in a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Monday night.
After a season-opening loss at Pittsburgh, the Rangers have won two straight. Del Zotto and Ales Kotalik scored power-play goals in the first period, and Gilroy tallied at even strength in the second for New York, which erased two one-goal deficits. Henrik Lundqvist made 25 saves.
The 19-year-old Del Zotto has scored in consecutive games.
Rob Niedermayer scored his first goal with the Devils, and Travis Zajac added a power-play score in the first, but the Devils dropped to 0-2. Both losses have come at home following the return of coach Jacques Lemaire.
David Clarkson assisted on both goals, and Martin Brodeur stopped 23 shots.
Gilroy, last season's Hobey Baker Award winner as the top NCAA player, took a pass in the right circle and smacked a shot that beat Brodeur between the pads with 2:10 left in the second. Gilroy's first NHL point gave the Rangers their first lead of the night.
New York carried the 3-2 lead into the third, something that seemed unlikely in the opening minutes.
The Devils had several scoring chances right away and took advantage just 1:10 in when Niedermayer took a short pass in the right circle from Jay Pandolfo and fired in a shot.
When Dainius Zubrus crashed into Lundqvist 14 seconds later, Rangers coach John Tortorella used his only timeout. With his players on the ice and hanging over the bench, Tortorella yelled at the club and punctuated his points by punching his open palm.
New York defenseman Michal Rozsival took an interference penalty seconds later, but the Rangers killed off the power play and gained momentum.
After failing on their first nine power-play chances in their opening two games, New York snapped out of its slump on Del Zotto's goal. Vinny Prospal fired a shot from the right side that smacked hard off Brodeur and kicked out left. Del Zotto streaked in from the point and shot the puck into the vacated left side that defenseman Paul Martin had little chance to cover at 6:31.
The Devils ended their power-play drought when Zajac scored off a feed from Clarkson at 10:52. New Jersey went 0-for-5 and the advantage in its 5-2 season-opening loss to Philadelphia, including a 5-on-3 chance for a full 2 minutes.
The Devils failed on their other five power-play opportunities Monday, including a brief two-man advantage early in the third.
New York tied it 2-2 after receiving a fortunate power play. Rangers captain Chris Drury leveled Martin with a dangerous, lunging hit with his knee - sending both players to the ice. Drury was jumped by Johnny Oduya, who delivered several punches.
Drury received a minor penalty for kneeing, but Oduya got 4 minutes for roughing. After the ensuing faceoff, Del Zotto sent a pass to Kotalik for a drive from the left point that beat Brodeur with 3:37 left in the second.
NOTES: There was no dueling between Brodeur and Rangers pest Sean Avery, who missed his third straight game due to a knee injury. He might play Thursday at Washington. ... Devils RW Ilkka Pikkarainen made his NHL debut after being activated from the injured list (flu). ... The Rangers had the NHL's second-worst power-play unit in the NHL last season. ... Lemaire went up against Rangers forward Marian Gaborik for the first time. They spent the past eight seasons with the Minnesota Wild. ... The Rangers were 2 for 6 on the power play.