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New York goalie comes up big

2/12/2004

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP ) -- Mike Dunham stifled the talk about
a goaltending change on the New York Rangers -- at least for one
night.

Dunham, who has been under fire from coach Glen Sather in recent
weeks for poor play, had 28 saves as the Rangers earned their
first regulation win over the New Jersey Devils in almost three
years, 3-1 Wednesday night.

"He looked composed. He was sharp," Sather said. "He looked
good. There's a lot of pressure on him, but that's the nature of
the beast. He rose to the occasion."

Dunham, 1-5 in his last six starts, allowing 21 goals, said the
All-Star break gave him a chance to refocus.

"I just felt relaxed and calm out there," Dunham said. "I
didn't want to go out there and try to do too much."

That's the kind of effort the Rangers will need to avoid missing
the playoffs for the seventh straight year.

"I'm proud of him, proud of the way he played," Mark Messier
said of Dunham. "He's been under fire the last few days. He came
up with a big game for us. It was exactly what we needed."

Defensemen Tom Poti and Boris Mironov scored first-period goals against
Martin Brodeur, and Dan LaCouture scored on a second-period wraparound. That gave the Rangers only their third
regular-season win (3-21-13) over New Jersey since 1997.

The Rangers' last regulation win was 4-3 March 31, 2001, in New Jersey.

Turner Stevenson scored for the Devils, who lost their third
straight, including two in as many nights since returning from the
All-Star break. New Jersey has only two goals in its last three
games.

"They were a different team tonight," Devils center Scott Gomez said of the Rangers. "They're in a worse situation than us, and Dunham responded. He was the difference."

Dunham was at his best in the final two periods, when the Devils
outshot New York 22-7. The former Devils goaltender stopped a
half-dozen good chances.

"We had tons of chances, we outchanced them bigtime," said
Brodeur, who faced only 16 shots, including one in the third
period. "They were hanging on. These guys gave us tons of chances
to get back in the game. Our offense couldn't get it done."

Poti gave the Rangers the lead with a power-play slap shot from
the point that Brodeur had trouble seeing with Bobby Holik parked
in front.

The goal came with a second left on a penalty to Jamie Langenbrunner for goaltender interference. The penalty came on a play in which a Devils shot went into the net.

Mironov snapped a 29-game goal drought with less than a second
left in the first period. Brodeur poked the puck off the stick of
Jaromir Jagr in front, but it went right to Mironov for a shot that
beat the buzzer.

LaCouture, who just came off the injured list (concussion),
scored early in the second period, taking advantage of a turnover.
He skated around the net and knocked Brodeur's stick out of his
hands in the process, leaving the net open for the wraparound.

Stevenson got the Devils' goal by putting his own rebound past
Dunham after the goaltender yielded a juicy second chance on a weak
shot.

Game notes
The Devils were 0-for-3 on the power play and are 0-for-18
over the last five games. ...Brodeur made his 63rd straight start
against the Rangers, including playoffs. ... Dunham is now 2-8-3
against his former teammates. ... Rangers D Dale Purinton was
called for all three penalties against New York. ... The Rangers'
only other recent win against New Jersey was 4-3 in overtime on
Oct. 17, 2001.