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Brian Gionta score late shootout winner as New Jersey edges the Rangers 3-2

The Canadian Press
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The Hockey News
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Brian Gionta score late shootout winner as New Jersey edges the Rangers 3-2

The Canadian Press
By:

That was enough against the struggling New York Rangers. Brian Gionta scored the lone shootout goal and Martin Brodeur stopped all three New York attempts to lead the Devils to a 3-2 win over the Rangers on Tuesday night.

"We've had a lot of games decided by one goal," Brodeur said. "You've got to get used to it. This is playoff hockey. That's what it is all about. You have to learn to play with a small lead or come back. That's what we have been doing all year."

The game was the Devils' 31st one-goal game, and they now have won 21 of those.

Paul Martin and Zach Parise scored in regulation as the Devils won their third straight, New Jersey's eighth victory in 11 contests.

Jaromir Jagr and Karel Rachunek scored for the Rangers, who have lost four straight and eight of 11. It was Jagr's 611th career goal, passing Bobby Hull for 13th on the career list.

The Rangers are 17 points behind of New Jersey in the Atlantic Division. A year ago, the Devils took the division title from their Hudson River rivals on the final day of the regular season.

"They're a team behind you and you try to push them down as much as you can," said Brodeur, who faced 30 shots through overtime. "The division is what it is all about. If you win the division, you'll have a good spot in the playoffs."

After Brodeur made a pad save on the Michael Nylander on the first shootout attempt, Gionta beat Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist with a backhander.

"He plays it real low, post to post with his feet," Gionta said of Lundqvist, who only faced 21 shots in the regulation and overtime. "I just tried to get a little speed and reach around him and just try to get it over his pad."

Lundqvist came close to stopping it.

"I was there with the pad, but he got it over it," he said.

Brendan Shanahan missed the net with the Rangers' second shot and Matt Cullen was stopped by Brodeur on the third.

"Absolutely, we have to start winning," Lundqvist said. "We're aware of the situation we're in. We're in a tough spot. We have to start winning. We're not going to give up. Hopefully, we turn this around."

While the Rangers had the only power play in overtime, Lundqvist made the best save, stopping a deflection in close by Gionta.

Jagr tied it at 2 early in the third period with his 20th goal. Brodeur made the initial stop on a shot by defenceman Aaron Ward and the defence pushed the puck behind the net. Jagr retrieved it and, from behind the net, banked it in off Brodeur with the goaltender facing his own net.

Parise had given the Devils a 2-1 lead late in the second period, firing his 21st goal into an almost open net after taking a cross-ice pass from Jamie Langenbrunner.

Martin and Rachunek traded goals in a 75-second span in the first period.

Martin scored on a wrist shot after taking a drop pass from Scott Gomez with the teams skating 4-on-4. The shot seemed to handcuff Brodeur, but it also appeared that Rangers forward Martin Straka might have deflected the shot shortly after it left Martin's stick.

Rachunek tied it by one-timing a pass from Nylander with the Rangers on a power play. Sean Avery, acquired in a trade with Los Angeles on Monday, set up the goal by winning the puck behind the net from Devils defenceman Colin White.

Notes: Brodeur started his 24th straight game for the Devils. ... Martin's goal was his second in 54 games. ... The Devils are (19-4-4) at the Meadowlands, where they have not sold out a game this season. This one drew 16,290. ... After six of eight games between the teams, the series is tied 3-3.

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Brian Gionta score late shootout winner as New Jersey edges the Rangers 3-2