The New York Rangers dropped their fifth divisional game of the season, with this one being at the hands of the New Jersey Devils.
David Clarkson scored twice for the Devils (5-1-3, 13 points) and assisted New Jersey's third goal. Patrik Elias recorded three assists for the Devils matching a career best.
It was the first time the two sides met since last season's Eastern Conference Finals, where Adam Henrique ended the series with a goal in overtime that sent the Devils to the Stanley Cup.
It was only fitting that the Rangers' nemesis opened the scoring in this one. He took a pass in the slot from behind the net and snuck the puck past Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. This came after the team failed to clear the puck out of the zone, setting up the scoring chance.
Prior to that, Rick Nash slammed into Martin Brodeur — who saved 24 shots in the win — and the net came off its pegs prior to the puck crossing the goal line. The goal was nullified for New York, and Henrique netted his blast not even a minute later.
Clarkson extended New Jersey's lead to 2-0 with 53 seconds remaining in the third period. Once again, the Rangers had trouble clearing the puck out of their zone, and Clarkson was able to take advantage. Nash had the puck tangled in his stakes, and he eventually lost the puck right in front of the net. Clarkson was able to beat Nash to the loose puck and slap home the goal.
His second goal was a rebound that Lundqvist kicked right to him in front of the net.
For New York (4-5-0, eight points), their first goal came when the game was already 3-0. Brad Richards made a beautiful play, stick handling the puck through all five Devils before hitting Chris Kreider, who was a late addition to the lineup, on the left side. Kreider put the puck over Brodeur's right shoulder for his first goal of he year — and his first career regular season goal.
The team really struggled on the power play, going 0-for-5 with a man advantage. J.T. Miller made his debut for New York and head coach John Tortorella was impressed with the rookie's play, saying he may steal ice time from other Rangers that are playing tentatively.
Dan Girardi was unable to play in this one in what was an undisclosed injury. It may raise concern as Girardi often plays through pain. In fact, two games in 2011 are the last he missed in more than 300 NHL games.
We'll continue to monitor Girardi's status, but he's labeled as day-to-day. Next, the Rangers face another division foe, the New York Islanders. The two face off on Thursday.
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