Devils beat the Rangers in preseason

September 24, 2008 7:47:33 PM PDT
Jamie Langenbrunner and Zach Parise scored first-period goals against Henrik Lundqvist, and the New Jersey Devils rode the early offense to a 3-2 preseason win over the New York Rangers on Wednesday night. Parise added another goal with 3:20 left in the third period, but veteran forward Petr Nedved made it 3-2 1:13 later with his second goal in two games during his attempt to get back into the NHL.

The Devils, who opened their exhibition season Monday with a 4-1 loss at Philadelphia, bounced back in a game that lacked a whole lot of intensity on the ice or in the stands that were less than half-filled.

New Jersey was eliminated by the Rangers in the first round of the playoffs last season.

"This was the first game for these guys that played tonight," Devils coach Brent Sutter said of his lineup. "It was important for the guys to get out in that competitiveness battle in a game situation. Obviously, when you're playing your rival, it cranks it up even that much more. It's always important to go out and win."

Langenbrunner staked New Jersey to a 1-0 lead during a 5-on-3 power play less than 5 minutes into the game.

Just 58 seconds after Thomas Pock and Vladimir Denisov went off with simultaneous penalties, Langenbrunner took a pass above the right circle from defenseman Paul Martin and ripped a slap shot past Lundqvist at 4:54.

New York, playing for the third straight night and the fourth time in five days, responded with a man-advantage goal by defenseman Brian Fahey 10:17 in.

Nedved, still very much a long shot to make the Rangers in his bid to return to the NHL after a one-year absence, moved the puck left-to-right across the New Jersey zone to Fahey, who sent a drive through traffic in front that eluded goalie Martin Brodeur.

Nedved, who had a goal in New York's 2-1 home win over Ottawa on Monday night, scored again to get the Rangers within one. The goal was awarded following a video review and was originally credited to Aaron Voros before being changed to Nedved after the game.

"It's nice to contribute offensively, but you've got to play at both ends of the ice," Nedved said. "I'm disappointed that we lost."

Rangers coach Tom Renney said Nedved would be back in the lineup Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning for his third game in four nights. A call will have to be made soon on whether Nedved will make the team. If he doesn't, he expects to play back in Europe as he did last season.

"I'm feeling good. I think I came physically prepared," the 36-year-old Nedved said. "I don't have a deadline. They might have a deadline. The decision has to come sooner or later, so I don't want to be going and putting any pressure on anybody. I just want to play the game and play the best I can. That's the most important thing."

The Rangers have been employing somewhat of a split squad since they started playing exhibition games last Saturday. They will host the Lightning on Thursday and then face the Devils on Saturday before heading to Europe, where they will open the regular season with two games against the Lightning in the Czech Republic.

Parise snapped a 1-1 tie with only 24.4 seconds left in the opening period. He got a rebound of defenseman Bryce Salvador's shot that hit the end boards and slipped the puck between Lundqvist's pads.

Both Lundqvist and Brodeur gave way to their backups with 9:09 remaining in the second period. Lundqvist finished with 13 saves, and Brodeur stopped 14 of 15 shots.