"It's one of those things that will catch you here or there," Klein
said of the pain he feels on the ice, "but as a hockey player,
you're used to that."
Klein's willingness to play through an injury that was originally
expected to sideline him indefinitely may have been the difference
between a win and a loss Monday night, as the Rangers held off a
late charge from the New Jersey Devils in a 2-1 victory at Madison
Klein scored his fourth goal of the season and played 18:44 with
captain and top defenseman Ryan McDonagh missing his first of
potentially many games with a concussion he sustained Saturday.
Klein injured the thumb six days earlier against the Devils but
missed just one game.
With the Rangers' blue line dangerously thin, Klein's presence was
crucial as the team won a third in a row for the first time since
"We thought we were going to lose him for a long time," Rangers
defenseman Marc Staal said. "We've been fortunate here that he's
been able to find a way to play through it and he scores a huge goal
for us. That first goal against these guys is massive."
That one goal early in the second period appeared to be all that
goaltender Henrik Lundqvist would require. Left winger J.T. Miller
added his 17th goal early in the third period to make it 2-0, and
when Devils defenseman Andy Greene took a hooking penalty with 2:40
remaining, there seemed to be no hope of a comeback.
However, a turnover by Rangers defenseman Keith Yandle led to a
short-handed goal by center Travis Zajac with 2:17 to go, and the
Devils were able to pull goaltender Cory Schneider, who stopped 35
shots, with about 40 seconds to play.
The Devils only mustered one shot attempt, which was blocked by
defenseman Dan Girardi.
"I mean, everybody saw it," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said.
"(Yandle) just made a low-percentage pass there, and it ended up
biting us, but we had been playing extremely well."
The Rangers went 0-for-5 on the power play, and they have just two
goals in their past 49 chances.
"You guys might not believe it, but I thought the power play had
some really good looks," Vigneault said. "We need a bounce to get a
little bit of confidence."
While the Rangers (30-18-5) look to be settling into a more secure
playoff position, the Devils (26-21-7) are one point behind the New
York Islanders for the final wild-card spot in the East but have
played three more games than the team that resides in Brooklyn.
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The Devils were confounded by the Rangers' forecheck throughout the
game and were only within striking distance thanks to Schneider's
strong play, although Miller's goal was a long wrist shot that
slipped between his legs.
"It's funny -- it wasn't necessarily the forecheck pressure, it was
when we had time and space, we didn't make plays," Devils coach John
Hynes said. "We couldn't catch or receive a pass early in the game.
I thought that became a big difference, and credit to New York, I
think they fed off that and took it to us pretty good."
The Devils will enter Martin Brodeur Night on Tuesday losers of
three straight. That is not how they wanted to enter a game with the
Edmonton Oilers that will feature the franchise's best player seeing
his number hoisted to the rafters at Prudential Center.
"Our challenge (Tuesday) is to make sure that our preparation is at
the right level," Schneider said. "It's a tough game. It's against a
team that's struggling right now and doesn't have much to lose. It's
an emotional night for us with Marty's celebration. We have to make
sure we are ready to go."
The Rangers will need to be ready to go against the Pittsburgh
Penguins and red-hot center Sidney Crosby on Wednesday night.
Another complete effort -- and maybe a power-play goal -- will be
required to stifle their Metropolitan rivals.
"The way we are playing, it's paying off in different ways," said
Lundqvist, who made 27 saves. "Guys are playing really well and
scoring big goals at the right time, and as a group, I feel like
we're doing a lot of good things. Hopefully we can continue that."
NOTES: Devils LW Michael Cammalleri (wrist) missed his fourth
consecutive game. Coach John Hynes said there is no timetable for
his return and he will be re-evaluated every three or four days. ...
New Jersey LW Patrik Elias (right knee), D Jon Merrill (right arm)
and LW Jiri Tlusty (right wrist) did not play. ... Devils D Damon
Severson was a healthy scratch. ... Rangers LW Rick Nash (leg
bruise) missed his sixth consecutive game. New York coach Alain
Vigneault said Nash hasn't skated the past three days. ... Rangers D
Ryan McDonagh is out indefinitely with a concussion he sustained
Saturday in Philadelphia.
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