Rob Niedermayer, Jamie Langenbrunner and Brian Rolston had a goal and assist each and the New Jersey Devils returned home from a difficult post-Olympics trip to beat the New York Rangers 6-3 on Wednesday night.
Bryce Salvador and Zach Parise and Travis Zajac added goals for the Devils, who matched a season high in goals and never trailed in winning for the fourth time in 12 games (4-7-1). New Jersey chased Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist when Rolston made it 5-3 late in the second period.
It was quite a change from the Jan. 12 meeting in which the Devils beat the Rangers 1-0 in a shootout.
New Jersey grabbed 1-0 and 2-1 advantages in the first and went ahead again 3-2 in the second. After New York tied it a third time with a rare goal from the fourth-liner Prust, Langenbrunner and Rolston scored 2:13 apart to put it away. Martin Brodeur made 16 saves for the win.
Lundqvist was pulled for the third time this season, but it was his first benching in 29 career games against the Devils. Once he got to the bench, the Swedish Olympian flung off a towel that a trainer draped over his shoulder.
It was hard to fault Lundqvist for much of the barrage that produced five goals on 17 shots. Salvador's goal that made it 2-1 with 1:43 left in the first deflected in off the stick of Rangers forward Olli Jokinen.
The final goal Lundqvist allowed came at the end of a slow-developing 3-on-1 rush. Rolston's shot hit the stick of diving defenseman Dan Girardi and found its way in with 4:41 left in the second. That ended Lundqvist's night and brought on Alex Auld.
Zajac beat him with 3:39 left to make it 6-3.
Niedermayer got the offense rolling 4:16 into the Devils' first home game since Feb. 12, but the Rangers got even 57 seconds later when Prospal finished off a brilliant three-way passing play started by Jokinen and Marian Gaborik.
Christensen showed surprising agility in the second when he deked Patrik Elias high in the slot, slithered in toward Brodeur and beat him with a shot to tie it 2-2 at 5:01.
Niedermayer nearly put New Jersey back in front, but Lundqvist stopped him on a short-handed breakaway just more than 6 minutes into the second. But it didn't take long for the Devils to regain the lead.
Rolston fired a shot from the dot in the left circle that bounced off Lundqvist and in front. Zajac got his stick on it, and Devils teammate Dainius Zubrus got off another shot that Lundqvist blocked. He couldn't control the rebound, however, and Parise knocked it in with a backhander to make it 3-2 at 8:38 — 15 seconds into New Jersey's first power play.
The Rangers bounced back again 37 seconds later on Prust's second of the season, but first with the Rangers in 11 games.
New York's three-goal outburst exceeded the Rangers' offensive production in their previous two games when they scored only once in losses to Washington and Buffalo.
NOTES: New Jersey beat the New York Islanders 6-1 on Nov. 28. ... Prust scored his first goal since Oct. 1 — 52 games earlier. ... Zubrus and defensemen Andy Greene and Mike Mottau all had two assists for New Jersey.
Source: AP News