Rangers end New Jersey's winning streak
Published: Monday, January 23, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 23, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
NEW YORK - Petr Prucha broke New York's power-play slump, and fellow rookie Henrik Lundqvist outdueled Olympic goalie counterpart Martin Brodeur to lift the Rangers to a 3-1 victory Sunday night that ended the New Jersey Devils' nine-game winning streak.
Prucha staked the Rangers to the lead in the first period with his 24th goal and Michael Nylander doubled it in the second. Lundqvist did the rest, stopping 31 shots and slowing down the Devils' power play in the process. Dominic Moore sealed it with an empty-netter on New York's 33rd and final shot.
Scott Gomez, a U.S. Olympian, kept Lundqvist away from his third NHL shutout when he cut New Jersey's deficit in half 6:36 into the final period. The Devils hadn't lost since Dec. 31 at Toronto.
The Rangers improved to 4-1-1 against New Jersey this season with two games left. They won the series from their area rivals for the first time since the 1996-97 season, the last time New York was in the playoffs.
Lundqvist, a Swedish Olympian, faced his toughest test early when defenseman Darius Kasparaitis was ejected for elbowing Devils forward Grant Marshall in the head. Just 1 second earlier, the Rangers killed off their first short-handed situation only to find themselves down a man for five more minutes.
Jamie Langenbrunner was denied by Lundqvist's left pad with 10:22 left in the period. New Jersey recorded three shots during the extended power play but had nothing to show for it.
That has not been a common theme for the Devils in their recent run, that started with the season debut of high-scoring forward Patrik Elias, who missed the first 39 games of the season because of Hepatitis-A.
New Jersey had scored at least one power-play goal in six straight games and had converted 11 of 22 chances during that streak.
Brodeur, Canada's top goalie, temporarily kept the Rangers off the board when he lunged to make a glove save on Fedor Tyutin's blue-line blast, but New York cashed in shortly after the ensuing faceoff.
Brian Rolston scored two goals and Manny Fernandez made 20 saves to lead visiting Minnesota to its third straight win.
Wes Walz also scored for Minnesota, which won its second straight against Chicago. The Wild beat the Blackhawks 4-1 on Friday night in St. Paul, Minn.
Fernandez lost a shutout bid at 2:12 of the third when Chicago's Rene Bourque scored. Mark Bell then scored with 21.4 seconds remaining and Chicago goalie Corey Crawford on the bench for an extra attacker.
Fernandez entered the game with a 2.02 goals-against average, second-best in the NHL to Ottawa's Dominik Hasek whose goal-against average was 2.00 heading into Sunday.
Rolston, who leads the Wild in scoring with 20 goals and 28 assist, recorded his third multiple-goal game this season.
Starting in place of again-injured top goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, Chicago rookie Adam Munro allowed three goals on 15 shots before he was replaced by Crawford with 3:30 left in the second period.
Crawford, who was recalled from Norfolk of the AHL on Sunday to replace Khabibulin, blocked all seven shots he faced in his NHL debut.
Khabibulin will be sidelined up to six weeks because of a sprained knee. He injured his knee early in Chicago's 4-1 loss at Minnesota on Friday, but finished the game.
Right wing Valeri Bure will undergo surgery today on his right hip.
Bure, 31, signed with the Kings as a free agent Aug. 12 and has yet to play in a regular-season game for them. He had surgery last month to alleviate lower back pain.
The native of Moscow has 174 goals and 226 assists in 621 NHL games with Dallas, Florida, St. Louis, Calgary and Montreal.
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