|Shanahan's OT goal lifts Rangers to 1-0 win, snaps NJ win streak at 9|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 10 December 2007 02:29|
They rattled off four straight road wins, then swept a five-game homestand in building a nine-game winning streak that vaulted them from also-ran status to first place in the Atlantic Division.
Impressive? Yes. Dominant? Not lately.
The Devils' run came to an end Sunday night, 30 seconds into overtime when Brendan Shanahan whistled a shot past Martin Brodeur to give the New York Rangers a 1-0 victory.
Two of the final three games of the winning streak went beyond regulation time, including a 4-3 overtime triumph versus Boston on Wednesday in which New Jersey fell behind by three goals in the first period.
On Friday, the Devils trudged through a 3-2 regulation victory against Washington, which has the fewest points in the NHL. Then they went to face the Rangers for a fourth time this season, after losing the first three, seemingly struggling to keep the streak alive.
``A little bit,'' said Brodeur, who made 28 saves. ``I think we knew we weren't playing some great hockey. Even today, we didn't play a great hockey game, but we got by again and we got a point.''
New Jersey will have a chance to start a new winning streak Monday when it faces the Capitals again, this time in Washington.
``We have to look at the positives. We had something special going,'' Devils forward Patrik Elias said. ``To get a point in 10 games in a row, that's great. We've just got to let it go.''
In other NHL games Sunday, it was Detroit 5, Carolina 2; Calgary 3, Chicago 2; and Colorado 9, St. Louis 5.
The Devils (16-10-3) were disappointed after their first loss since another 1-0 defeat on Nov. 16 against the New York Islanders. They said the right things, but bidding farewell to the third-longest winning streak in team history and seeing it snapped by the Rangers definitely hurt.
New Jersey hadn't lost four straight to its biggest rival since a six-game skid during New York's run to the Stanley Cup title in the 1993-94 season. The Devils fell four short of matching the team mark of 13 straight wins.
``We have to find a way to beat these guys next time,'' Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner said. ``But our focus now is to not let this one drag on and cost us another one.
``We got one (point) when we didn't score a goal. So that's a good sign, I guess. I don't think we ever got wrapped up in the streak, so much. It just kind of happens.''
Henrik Lundqvist needed to make only 17 saves to record his fifth shutout this season. None of the stops came in overtime as Shanahan had the lone drive of the extra session.
Lundqvist's biggest test came right after the game's opening faceoff when Zach Parise had a prime scoring chance on New Jersey's initial rush at 13 seconds. Lundqvist didn't face another shot until he forced John Madden to go wide on a breakaway during 4-on-4 play, and denied a backhanded attempt with 7:33 left in the period.
Parise got two more pucks on net in the final minute, recording three of the Devils' four shots in the first. After putting up nine in the second, the Devils were again held to four in the third.
``We've got to get back to playing our game a little better,'' Langenbrunner said. ``We're making a few too many mistakes, missing too many opportunities, not getting enough pucks to the net. Seventeen shots is not enough shots in this league.''
The Rangers had been outscored 14-4 in losing their previous three, including a pair of home defeats this week in which Lundqvist uncharacteristically allowed four goals in each.
``We were worried too much about their game and got away from our game,'' Elias said. ``We were a little hesitant and didn't pressure them enough. He's been having a little bit of trouble, and we didn't test him enough to see how good he is.''
Steve Valiquette took a 4-2 loss at Atlanta on Friday when Lundqvist rested for the third time in 29 games this season.
``I was thinking, 'Get pumped up for this game,' and it's not hard to get that feeling going out there to play against the Devils and play against Marty,'' Lundqvist said after his 12th NHL regular-season shutout - 82 fewer than Brodeur. ``After the first period I felt like I was back.''
Lundqvist lowered his goals-against average to 1.94 and moved into a tie for the league lead with 15 wins.
``They always present a big challenge to us, especially with them being on a nine-game winning streak,'' Shanahan said.
Red Wings 5, Hurricanes 2
At Detroit, Andreas Lilja's second-period goal broke a tie, and the NHL-leading Red Wings won their sixth straight.
Valtteri Filppula, Johan Franzen, Pavel Datsyuk, and Tomas Holmstrom also scored for Detroit.
Erik Cole scored both of Carolina's goals and Cam Ward stopped 31 shots.
Flames 3, Blackhawks 2
At Chicago, defenseman Cory Sarich's goal with 8:41 left snapped a 1-1 tie, and Calgary handed the Blackhawks their season-high fourth straight loss.
Calgary also got goals from Owen Nolan and Daymond Langkow, and Miikka Kiprusoff made 35 saves.
Robert Lang and Dustin Byfuglien scored for Chicago.
Avalanche 9, Blues 5
At Denver, Milan Hejduk notched his fifth NHL hat trick and added three assists to lead Colorado past St. Louis.
Paul Stastny had two goals and three assists, Ryan Smyth had a goal and two assists and Wojtek Wolski had two goals for the Avalanche, who won the 1,000th game in franchise history.
Colorado's offensive output was the NHL's best since Jan. 4, when Toronto beat Boston 10-2 and San Jose defeated Detroit 9-4. The Avalanche scored five times in the second period.