Rangers' Gomez burns Devils in Game 1
Scott Gomez burned his old team and Martin Brodeur made an uncharacteristic gaffe as the New York Rangers beat the New Jersey Devils 4-1 in the first playoff game ever played at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
Gomez, who signed with the Rangers in the off-season after seven seasons with the Devils, assisted on goals by Brendan Shanahan, Ryan Callahan and Sean Avery. Nigel Dawes added an empty-net goal.
"It's the playoffs. It doesn't matter who you play," Gomez said. "It could have been any team. As you get older, the years go by faster.
"I've got a lot of friends over there, but the way you're raised over there, it doesn't matter who's in the way. There were no extra emotions."
Callahan's short-handed marker at 7:23 of the third held up as the winner. Callahan put his own rebound in net as Brodeur couldn't get his stick across to clear a puck that lay in the crease.
"I was trying to get there as quick as possible," Callahan said. "A lot of times, he makes the good play — it's not too often he's going to mishandle it. I was just lucky enough to be there when he did."
Paul Martin scored on the power play for New Jersey in the second period to tie the game after Shanahan opened the scoring earlier in the frame.
Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarter-final will take place Friday night in the same building.
The Rangers won seven of the eight regular season meetings between the clubs, allowing just 10 goals, and Game 1 was another tight affair.
There were no goals in the first period, although both teams had chances. Jagr hit the post behind Brodeur, with Sergei Brylin of the Devils hitting the crossbar past Lundqvist.
The Rangers opened the scoring when Shanahan's shot from near the right-wing boards found its way past Brodeur at 1:45 of the second. Gomez started the play and also screened the New Jersey netminder.
The goal came 2 seconds after Jay Pandolfo's tripping penalty expired.
Gomez took a hooking penalty later in the period and the Devils capitalized. New Jersey had the New York penalty-killing unit scrambling before Marin scored on a shot from the right faceoff circle.
Lundqvist prevented the Devils from going ahead when he denied Patrik Elias at the side of the net. Shanahan's bid for a second goal was snared by Brodeur later in the period.
Early in the third, Jamie Langenbrunner fanned on a great chance on a New Jersey power play. Seconds later, the Rangers regained the lead on Callahan's crucial goal.
"You have to freeze that [puck]," said Brodeur. "It's not the way I play. I like to keep the play moving. I made a mistake, and I cost us."
Gomez drew Brodeur wide and fed Avery, who had a half-empty net, for an insurance marker at 17:07. Rookie Dawes finished matters with six seconds remaining with his first career playoff goal.
Lundqvist finished with 26 saves, two more than Brodeur.
New York has won three of its four playoff series with New Jersey, although the Devils won the last meeting, in 2006.
With files from the Associated Press