Devils top Rangers behind Clarkson
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- David Clarkson scored twice and set up New Jersey's other goal, and Pat Elias matched his career best with three assists to lead the Devils to a 3-1 victory over the New York Rangers on Tuesday night in their first meeting since last spring's Eastern Conference finals.
The Devils won that series in six games, and they still had the Rangers' number in getting 24 saves from Martin Brodeur.
Rangers nemeses Adam Henrique ended that series with an overtime goal in Game 6, and he picked up right where he left off, scoring in close five minutes after the opening faceoff to give the Devils a lead they would never lose.
Chris Kreider scored for the Rangers, who have yet to jell this season despite adding scoring star Rick Nash. Henrik Lundqvisthad 19 saves.
Nash was at the center of the Rangers' futility in a game where they failed on four first-period power plays and fell behind 2-0.
Nash had a chance less than a minute before Henrique gave New Jersey the lead. He broke in on Brodeur and crashed into the 40-year-old goalie. Nash slammed into the goalpost and it went off its peg before the puck crossed the goal line and was waved off by the referees. The play was reviewed and the call was upheld.
Henrique scored less than a minute later with a shot from low in the left circle. It came after New York failed to clear the puck out of the zone. Clarkson sent it behind the net and Elias found Henrique for his second goal of the season.
Brodeur, who was looking for his 121st career shutout, made his best save on defenseman Marc Staal late in a four-minute penalty to defenseman Andy Greene for high sticking. New York kept the puck in the New Jersey zone and put together about four passes with Staal getting a shot from low in the left circle. Brodeur slid across the crease, blocked the shot with his pad and fell on the puck before the Rangers could attack the rebound.
Clarkson, who is showing that his 30-goal season a year ago wasn't a fluke doubled the lead with 53 seconds left in the period. Once again, the Rangers had trouble clearing and the Devils took advantage when Stephen Gionta pass in front got tangled in Nash's skates and Clarkson slammed the loose puck between Lundqvist's pads for his sixth goal.
Nash had the Rangers' best chance in the second period when he swooped on goal, got Brodeur out of position and then slide his shot across the goalmouth with the net open.
Clarkson stretched the lead to 3-0 early in the third, putting the rebound of a Greene power-play shot past Lundqvist.
Kreider, who was just returning from an ankle injury, ended Brodeur's shutout bid with a shot over the goaltender's shoulder at 6:28 of the third period.
The Rangers pressed the rest of the way but Brodeur was outstanding, making two nice saves on Marian Gaborik, a glove stop on Staal and a spectacular glove save on a deflection by Carl Hagelin, who was set up by Nash.
NOTES: The Rangers came in 1 for 11 on the power play on the road and they were fruitless in five more chances. ... The Devils have killed off their last 15 short-handed situations. ... Kreider's goal was his first in a regular-season game. ... The teams will meet three more times this season. ... Brodeur is now two games away from the 1,200-mark in his NHL career. ... Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi was scratched with an undisclosed injury.