Final OT

Series (Game 3 of 5)

New Jersey leads 2-0

Game 1: Thursday, November 21st
Game 2: Monday, December 23rd
Game 3: Tuesday, February 25th
Game 4: Saturday, March 15th
Game 5: Friday, April 4th

Rangers 3

(25-31-2, 60 pts)

Devils 3

(37-16-4, 83 pts)

7:30 PM ET, February 25, 2003

IZOD Center, East Rutherford, New Jersey

1 2 3 OT T
NYR 1 0 2 03
NJ 0 2 1 03

J. Langenbrunner (Devils - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

B. Gionta (Devils - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

P. Nedved (Rangers - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Holik's return to New Jersey not a winning one

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.

Petr Nedved scored on a power play with 4:28 left in regulation and the road-weary New York Rangers salvaged a point in a 3-3 tie with the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.

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 into.''

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.''

Brian Leetch and Tom Poti also scored for the Rangers, who tied the Devils three times this season.

Jamie Langenbrunner scored twice, and Brian Gionta once for the Devils. Martin Brodeur made a spectacular save on Leetch halfway through overtime.

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 goal line.''

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 Dec. 19.

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 mistake.

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.

Game notes

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.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press