for this game

Staal, Gomez put Devils on brink

Apr 17, 2008 - 3:39 AM
By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEW YORK (Ticker) -- If Marc Staal was bothered by his misfortune in Game Three, it was not apparent on Wednesday.

The rookie defenseman snapped a tie with 3:13 remaining in the third period as the New York Rangers pushed the New Jersey Devils to the brink of elimination with a 5-3 victory in Game Four of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

Former Devil Scott Gomez scored a pair of goals and Chris Drury and Martin Straka also tallied for New York, which grabbed a commanding three-games-to-one lead in the series.

Patrik Elias scored twice and blue-liner Mike Mottau also netted a goal for New Jersey, which looks to extend the series when it hosts Game Five on Friday.

The Rangers squandered three one-goal leads and seemed headed for a second straight overtime and a possible split in the series.

It was in overtime of Game Three on Sunday that they suffered their only loss of the series, as John Madden's centering pass went off Staal's right skate and past goaltender Henrik Lundqvist for the game-winning goal.

"You end a game like that, (it's tough). But at the same time, I wanted to try and get it out of my head as soon as the game started," Staal said. "That's what I did, and it worked out."

This time, the extra session was avoided as the Rangers capitalized on Elias' inability to clear the rebound of a shot by captain Jaromir Jagr. The puck went to Straka, who fed the 21-year-old Staal for a low slapper from above the left faceoff circle that got past goaltender Martin Brodeur for a 4-3 edge.

"Marty (Straka) made a great play," Staal said. "I kind of got it for a second and I saw the (defenseman) kind of dive. So I just wanted to get it off as quick as possible."

"I had a pretty good view of it," Brodeur said. "I kind of lost it in the middle there, and it may have hit the shaft of a stick on the ice. It was a pretty hard shot."

It was the first career playoff goal for Staal, who was drafted 12th overall in 2005. The Rangers did not allow the Devils to register a shot on goal the rest of the way and clinched the win when Gomez capped his two-goal effort with an empty-netter with 13 seconds remaining.

"It felt awesome," Staal said. "It's the ultimate redemption of what happened in Game Three and overtime, but I can't complain. It feels pretty good to get that goal that late in the game."

"It was a good win," Drury added. "It was a back-and-forth game. We hung in there right there to the end, and obviously, (it was) a huge goal from Marc."

It was the second straight game that featured plenty of offense between the teams. They have combined for 15 goals in the last two contests after totaling eight in Games One and Two.

The game also featured plenty of mistakes, especially by New Jersey - a sentiment stated by coach Brent Sutter and repeated in the team's locker room.

"Tonight, we were a team that didn't play well in the first 20 minutes," Sutter said. "And every goal they got on us tonight, we gave it away."

Elias, who had a minus-3 rating, agreed with Sutter's assessment.

"We did (have control of the game)," Elias said. "In the third period, we came out better. We came out better than they did. We had more opportunities. It (stinks that) we made a bad mistake clearing the puck in our own zone and it went in the net."

"We missed some opportunities and turned the puck over, and they were able to capitalize on their chances," Madden added. "That was the difference tonight."

Despite the increase in scoring, New Jersey's third-period struggles against New York continued. The Devils have been outscored, 8-2, in the third this series and by a 15-3 margin in the 12 overall meetings between the clubs this season.

Gomez opened the scoring at 12:37 of the first. With the Rangers on a power play, Gomez received a pass from the top of the right faceoff circle by defenseman Dan Girardi and tapped the puck into a vacant net from the left side of the crease.

Elias erased the Rangers' 1-0 lead just 31 seconds into the middle period, burying the rebound of captain Jamie Langenbrunner's shot from the right side.

Straka converted a cross-slot pass by Brandon Dubinsky during a 2-on-1 rush at 2:53 to put New York back in front, but Elias beat Lundqvist to the short side with a wrist shot from the left faceoff dot during a power play at 6:58 to forge a 2-2 tie.

Drury gave the Rangers their third lead with 7:21 to go in the period, redirecting defenseman Fedor Tyutin's blast from the left point past Brodeur for his 44th career playoff goal.

But former Ranger Mottau knotted the contest at 3-3 early in the third, when his shot from the right circle found the top left corner of the net at 4:37 for his first postseason tally.

"I would have liked to be able to control it a little better like we did in the first period," Rangers coach Tom Renney said. "New Jersey is after the win like we are. It got into a bit of a track meet."








  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NEW JERSEY 0 2 1 3
    NY RANGERS 1 2 2 5 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYR - (PP) SCOTT GOMEZ 1 (DAN GIRARDI, CHRIS DRURY) 12:37
    2ND PRD: NJD - PATRIK ELIAS 2 (JAMIE LANGENBRUNNER, ZACH PARISE) 0:31
    NYR - MARTIN STRAKA 1 (BRANDON DUBINSKY, JAROMIR JAGR) 2:53
    NJD - (PP) PATRIK

    Apr 16 9:40 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NEW JERSEY 3
    NY RANGERS 5
    3RD PRD: NYR - (EN) SCOTT GOMEZ 2 (UNASSISTED) 19:47

    Devils 3, Rangers 5  3rd - 0:13Apr 16 9:39 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NEW JERSEY 3
    NY RANGERS 4
    3RD PRD: NYR - MARC STAAL 1 (MARTIN STRAKA) 16:47

    Devils 3, Rangers 4  3rd - 3:13Apr 16 9:32 PM
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    Devils 3, Rangers 4  3rd - 3:13Apr 16 9:32 PM
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    Devils 3, Rangers 3  3rd - 4:10Apr 16 9:29 PM
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    Devils 3, Rangers 3  3rd - 5:11Apr 16 9:27 PM
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    Devils 3, Rangers 3  3rd - 6:47Apr 16 9:22 PM
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    Devils 3, Rangers 3  3rd - 14:04Apr 16 9:13 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NEW JERSEY 3
    NY RANGERS 3
    3RD PRD: NJD - MIKE MOTTAU 1 (JOHN MADDEN, ZACH PARISE) 4:37

    Devils 3, Rangers 3  3rd - 15:23Apr 16 9:08 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NEW JERSEY 0 2 2
    NY RANGERS 1 2 3 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYR - (PP) SCOTT GOMEZ 1 (DAN GIRARDI, CHRIS DRURY) 12:37
    2ND PRD: NJD - PATRIK ELIAS 2 (JAMIE LANGENBRUNNER, ZACH PARISE) 0:31
    NYR - MARTIN STRAKA 1 (BRANDON DUBINSKY, JAROMIR JAGR) 2:53
    NJD -

    Apr 16 8:42 PM
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    Devils 2, Rangers 3  2nd - 6:11Apr 16 8:32 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NEW JERSEY 2
    NY RANGERS 3
    2ND PRD: NYR - CHRIS DRURY 1 (FEDOR TYUTIN) 12:39

    Devils 2, Rangers 3  2nd - 7:21Apr 16 8:25 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NEW JERSEY 2
    NY RANGERS 2
    2ND PRD: NJD - (PP) PATRIK ELIAS 3 (JOHNNY ODUYA, JAMIE LANGENBRUNNER)
    6:58

    Devils 2, Rangers 2  2nd - 13:02Apr 16 8:18 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NEW JERSEY 1
    NY RANGERS 2
    2ND PRD: NYR - MARTIN STRAKA 1 (BRANDON DUBINSKY, JAROMIR JAGR) 2:53

    Devils 1, Rangers 2  2nd - 17:07Apr 16 8:10 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NEW JERSEY 1
    NY RANGERS 1
    2ND PRD: NJD - PATRIK ELIAS 2 (JAMIE LANGENBRUNNER, ZACH PARISE) 0:31

    Devils 1, Rangers 1  2nd - 19:29Apr 16 8:06 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NEW JERSEY 0 0
    NY RANGERS 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYR - (PP) SCOTT GOMEZ 1 (DAN GIRARDI, CHRIS DRURY) 12:37
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NJD 5 5
    NYR 12 12
    GOALIES: NJD - MART

    Apr 16 7:46 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NEW JERSEY 0
    NY RANGERS 1
    1ST PRD: NYR - (PP) SCOTT GOMEZ 1 (DAN GIRARDI, CHRIS DRURY) 12:37

    Devils 0, Rangers 1  1st - 7:23Apr 16 7:33 PM
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