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Leetch scores winning goal 51 seconds into OT

11/7/2002

NEW YORK (AP) -- Dan Blackburn wasn't about to lose another
shutout in overtime.

The Rangers' 19-year-old backup goalie made 26 saves, and earned
his first NHL shutout when Brian Leetch scored 51 seconds into the
extra session to lift New York to a 1-0 victory Thursday night over
the Calgary Flames.

Blackburn almost had his first shutout last season as a rookie,
but Jan Hrdina scored with 18.5 seconds left in overtime to give
Pittsburgh a 1-0 win over the Rangers on Nov. 17, 2001.

"When we went into overtime, I just prepared myself to play the
full five minutes to get it,'' Blackburn said of the shutout.

Blackburn earned his 13th career victory in his 36th game. New
York has won two straight after a three-game losing streak.

"I think my first win was more exciting than this,'' said
Blackburn, whose mother was at the game. "Everybody's pretty
excited. We're on a little bit of a roll, having won two in a
row.''

Leetch swooped in to the right of goalie Jamie McLennan, as Mark
Messier sent a pass across the goal mouth, and tapped in his second
goal of the season.

"We had a little more room 4-on-4 being out there with Brian,''
Messier said. "You know he is going to keep coming for the net.''

McLennan saw the play develop but couldn't stop the goal.

"You know Messier's there but you can't cheat or he'll put it
through the five-hole,'' McLennan said. "It's a desperation play.
I got a chunk of it as it went across but not enough.''

The Rangers have beaten the Flames in overtime in three of the
last four meetings.

"It's a tough way to lose,'' Flames forward Jarome Iginla said.
"We played hard. Fortunately we got a tie out of it but it still
feels pretty sour to lose that game.''

Both teams had great scoring opportunities in the third period.
Chris Drury hit the goal post behind Blackburn on a shorthanded
break with less than 2 minutes to go in regulation.

"It was desperation, but I got enough of it to put it off the
post and luckily one of our guys was there to pick it up,''
Blackburn said.

Earlier, McLennan stopped Radek Dvorak with the heel of his skate blade.

"Surely there's no better cliche than a game of inches right
there,'' Leetch said.

Both teams played a solid defensive game through the first two
periods, with McLennan coming up with several spectacular saves.

McLennan made brilliant stops on Dvorak and Pavel Bure in the
first period and robbed Bure on a power-play chance in the second.

Game notes
Rangers G Mike Richter was scratched, and Jason Labarbera
was recalled from Hartford of the AHL to serve as Blackburn's
backup. Richter was kicked in the head in Tuesday's game against
Edmonton and felt "foggy.'' Richter, who fractured his skull last
season after being struck by a shot, is day to day. ... Former C
Clint Smith (1936-1943), a member of the 1940 Stanley Cup champion
Rangers, was in attendance. ... The Flames fell to 2-0-0-1 on their
five-game road trip after opening with wins at the New York
Islanders and New Jersey. ... Calgary won the only meeting between
the teams last season, 5-3 at Madison Square Garden.