EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Despite being five points out of a
playoff berth with 16 games left, the New York Rangers believe they
can make a postseason run now that they're finally returning home.
The Rangers are 4-4-2 the last 10 games, nine of which were
played on the road. New York has 10 home games down the stretch,
including the next five.
"Obviously, we are in striking distance,'' center Bobby Holik
said after playing his first regular-season game in New Jersey
after 10 seasons with the Devils. "The only thing we can control
is the next game. We cannot control how the other teams play. We
can only control how we play on Thursday night.
That game will be against Boston, the team clinging to the final
playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins, who have
played four fewer games than the Rangers, tied Dallas 5-5 Tuesday.
"We can make a run at it,'' said Rangers center Eric Lindros,
who missed the net on a great scoring chance shortly after Nedved
scored. "I don't think that was ever in doubt. I personally
believe we can do it. We have to be at a .700 or .800 clip on home
ice. We've got to make it a miserable place for teams to come
That would be a major change. The Rangers are 12-15-3-1 at home.
"We wanted to bring home a couple of more points, but we
didn't,'' Nedved said. "We've got to take advantage of the
homestand. That's the only way we can close the gap. Hopefully, we
can build on this game.''
Holik had four shots in the game in which he was booed every
time he touched the puck. His best chances came in close late in
the second period. Longtime Devils defenseman Ken Daneyko also
welcomed him back with a hard cross-check late in the third period
that wasn't called.
Both teams had great chances in overtime, with Brodeur
stretching to stop Leetch on a setup by Alexei Kovalev.
"It was the same kind of play they scored the (first) two
goals,'' Brodeur said. "I just went down and it hit my pad and
kept spinning around toward the goal and finally stopped on the
Rangers goalie Mike Dunham, another former Devils player, made
33 saves, including one on an overtime power-play shot by Brian
Rafakski. He also appeared to get a piece of Joe Nieuwendyk's break
late in the overtime.
The Rangers came back twice in the third period to tie it.
Nedved made it 3-3 with a power-play goal just 36 seconds after
Jeff Friesen was called for slashing.
"It went right through me,'' Brodeur said. "It hit between my
arm and body and snuck through. It was a good shot from that angle.
He had to go short side, top shelf and there aren't too many guys
who can do that.''
Langenbrunner gave New Jersey a 3-2 lead at 6:26 of the period,
stealing the puck from defenseman Vladimir Malakhov and beating
Dunham on a breakaway.
Leetch scored in close on a great setup by Mark Messier to tie
it at 2 just 2:34 into the third period.
Gionta and Langenbrunner scored in the second period to give the
Devils a 2-1 lead. Gionta tied it 1-1 at 6:54, but he had to wait a
couple of minutes before getting credit for his first goal since
Mike Rupp, who now wears the No. 16 that Holik wore for the
Devils, fired a 30-footer that Dunham stopped but didn't control.
The big rebound came to Gionta, and his shot hit the back of the
net and came out quickly.
Referee Marc Joanette waved off the goal, indicating it hit the
crossbar. A videotape review after play was stopped corrected the
Langenbrunner gave the Devils the lead with 2:52 left in the
period with the Rangers about to receive a delayed penalty.
Poti gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead at 7:25 of the first.
It was the Devils' first home sellout (19,040) in 33 games
this season. ... The Devils recalled G Ari Ahonen from Albany of
the AHL with the wife of regular backup Corey Schwab expecting
their second child. ... New Jersey sent F Christian Berglund to
Albany. ... Rangers D Boris Mironov returned to the lineup after
missing two games with a shoulder injury.