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03/19/2013 11:14 PM EDT
Del Zotto has goal, assist on Nash winner for NYR
NY RANGERS 3, NEW JERSEY 2

By TOM CANAVAN
AP Sports Writer

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- All the New York Rangers needed to regain
their confidence and get back in the playoff hunt was two wins
in two nights.



That is how tight the NHL is in this lockout-shortened season.



Michael Del Zotto scored a short-handed goal and set up Rick
Nash's game winner to lead the Rangers to a 3-2 win over the
Devils on Tuesday night, moving them into a tie with New Jersey
for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.



"The game last night meant nothing if we didn't follow up with
two points again tonight," Del Zotto said, referring to New
York's 2-1 shootout win over Carolina on Monday. "It was huge. A
lot of momentum swings, and we have to keep this rolling here."



The wins came on the heels of a three-game losing streak for the
Rangers, who also have a game in hand on New Jersey.



"Guys are getting more confidence back," Rangers captain Ryan
Callahan said. "We're getting back to playing the style we want
to play. It shows on the ice. It's two points, and now we have
to move on."



Carl Hagelin also scored for the Rangers, and Henrik Lundqvist
had 29 saves, including three spectacular stops during a
second-period power play that preceded Nash's deciding goal.



"You try to play with a short memory, you have to," Lundqvist
said. "The games come up so fast. Sometimes you can't really
tell why it turns around for you. You just have to keep working
hard and hopefully good things will happen.



"We have to improve and play even better if we're going to be in
the playoffs. These were two good games we can build on."



The Devils also have to move on, but they need to change
direction after losing their third straight (0-2-1) and for the
10th time (3-8-2) since goalie Martin Brodeur went down with a
pinched nerve in his back.



Brodeur was on the bench for the first time since being injured,
and the league's career leader in wins hopes to start on
Thursday in Carolina.



"We've got enough here to win more games than we have been
winning lately," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. `We have to get
the job done."



Travis Zajac and Anton Volchenkov scored for New Jersey, which
again outshot its opponent but had trouble scoring. The Devils
have four goals in the losing streak.



"We did everything except score when we needed to," Zajac said.
"It was a pretty good game from our team. You can't fault our
effort today. We didn't score. We had our chances but didn't get
the bounce."



By Rangers-Devils standards, this game was wide open and had its
share of miscues and great saves by Lundqvist and Johan Hedberg,
who started all 13 games since Brodeur last played on Feb. 21.



Nash's goal might have been one of the mistakes by Hedberg, who
helped set up Del Zotto's third goal of the season by playing
the puck near his bench on a power play.



Nash's team-high 10th goal came on a counterattack shortly after
Lundqvist made saves on a blast by Ilya Kovalchuk, a backhander
by Steve Bernier on the rebound and an in-close rebound by
Alexei Ponikarovsky with Rangers defenseman Anton Stralman in
the penalty box.



Del Zotto found Nash on the right wing, and the big forward
skated into the Devils zone and beat Hedberg with a shot from
the right circle at 7:25 to break a 2-all tie



"He (Lundqvist) definitely gave us the momentum, coming off a
penalty kill," Nash said. "Del Zotto made a great play up the
ice and sent me and Richards on a two-on-one. The D man was kind
of cheating the pass so I thought I would shoot."



New Jersey had about five good chances to tie it but Lundqvist
stoned them, making a great stop on David Clarkson from between
the circles in the second period and stopping a couple of slap
shots by Kovalchuk on a third-period power play. He also made a
save on Patrik Elias in the final minute.



The Rangers, who hadn't scored two goals in regulation in their
previous four games, scored twice in the first period, but the
Devils tied it on goals by slumping players.



Shortly after Kovalchuk banged a power-play shot off the post,
Del Zotto swatted a shoulder-high pass from the corner by Derek
Stepan into the net at 11:49 for New York's third short-handed
goal of the season.



The Devils' second power play was more productive, and a little
bit luckier at 15:15. A shot from the point by Peter Harrold was
partially blocked. Del Zotto tried to kick the puck to the
corner, but it went to Zajac's stick in the right circle for his
first goal in 11 games.



New York took the lead again less than two minutes later on
Hagelin's eighth goal.



It also was a little lucky.



Dan Girardi's shot from the right point was wide of the net but
it bounced off the end boards right to Hagelin on the left
doorstep for a stuff-in.



Volchenkov tied it 2-2 just 23 seconds later with a shot from
the left point that found its way past about five players and
Lundqvist. It was the Russian's first goal in 36 games, dating
to last season, and his 19th goal in a decade in the NHL.



NOTES: Del Zotto's goal was his 100th NHL point. ... Defensemen
Stu Bickel and Matt Gilroy were healthy scratches for the
Rangers. ... Devils C Andrei Loktionov (undisclosed injury)
hopes to be back in the lineup in Carolina on Thursday. ...
Devils D Marek Zidlicky played in his 600th NHL game.
...Ponikarovsky left the game in the second period with an
undisclosed injury.

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