Jaromir Jagr scored his NHL-leading 13th and 14th goals of the
season and Michael Nylander also had two goals to lead the Rangers
to a 4-2 victory over the Devils on Thursday night. The Atlantic
Division-leading Rangers have beaten the Devils twice in a season
for the first time since 1996-97.
"Now it's our turn to step it up," Devils forward Scott Gomez
said. "People have to realize it's not the same Rangers we've
known. Everyone put these guys down, saying they would only win 10
games. Right now, they're showing everyone."
Kevin Weekes played a major role for the Rangers, making 30
saves in his first appearance since giving up three goals on the
first three shots in the Rangers' 5-4 loss to the New York
Islanders on Oct. 20.
"Starting from scratch is a little bit challenging," Weekes
said. "Confidence isn't as much of an issue as getting repetitions
and getting into game situations. The only way to feel comfortable
in games is to play in them."
Weekes could get another opportunity Saturday afternoon in
Madison Square Garden when the teams complete the home-and-home
"It wasn't easy for him," Jagr said. "He wanted to prove he's
a great goaltender. Now we have confidence when he's in the nets
that we can win."
Jamie Langenbrunner and Brian Gionta scored for New Jersey, and
Scott Clemmensen made 21 saves in his fourth straight start while
Martin Brodeur recovers from a sprained right knee. The game ended
Brodeur's streak of 68 consecutive starts, including the playoffs,
against the Rangers.
Clemmensen wants another crack at the Rangers on Saturday.
"I would like to play as much as I can," Clemmensen said.
"I'd like to get another shot at these guys, especially after
losing tonight. I'm obviously ready to play any one but I'd love to
play them again."
Goals by Nylander and Jagr 47 seconds apart in the first period
wiped out the early lead Langenbrunner gave the Devils with an
unassisted short-handed goal at 4:06. Langenbrunner intercepted a
pass between Fedor Tyutin and Jagr and sped down the right wing to
fire a shot past Weekes' glove.
Less than a minute later, the Devils got a five-on-three power
play for almost two minutes but failed to increase the lead despite
several good chances. Viktor Kozlov flubbed the best opportunity
when he missed a wide-open net.
Nylander tied it at 14:05, taking a return pass from Martin
Straka and jamming a shot from just outside the crease past
Clemmensen on a power play.
On Jagr's goal, Ville Nieminen flipped the puck into the Devils'
zone. Jagr knocked the bouncing puck away from defenseman Richard
Matvichuk and poked a shot past Clemmensen to extend his points
streak to 11 games.
Nylander struck again with the only goal of the second period at
9:22. Jagr, stationed behind the Devils' net, fed a centering pass
to the slot that popped in the air. Nylander batted the puck down
before swatting it past Clemmensen to give the Rangers a 3-1 lead.
In the third, Gionta scored a power-play goal at 9:19 to trim
the Rangers' lead to one. Paul Martin's point shot sailed high onto
the glass and rebounded into the slot, where Gionta batted it past
Gionta came close to scoring the equalizer on a feed from
Alexander Mogilny about three minutes later, but Weekes held his
ground to make a point-blank stop.
Jagr sealed the win with an empty-net score with 17.8 seconds
Devils C Pascal Rheaume cleared waivers and was assigned to
Albany of the AHL. New Jersey recalled LW Tuomas Pihlman from
Albany. ... Devils D Colin White missed his eighth straight game
because of a groin injury. ... Former Chicago goalie Glenn Hall
holds the record of 87 consecutive regular-season starts against
the Rangers (1957-63). ... Chris Terreri was the last Devils goalie
other than Brodeur to face the Rangers, back on Dec. 5, 1993.