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Devils Down Rangers 5-2 in Much Needed Win

Tyler Kennedy of the Devils celebrates his first period goal against the Rangers. Photo Credit: Bruce Bennet/Getty Images

Tyler Kennedy of the Devils celebrates his first period goal against the Rangers. Photo Credit: Bruce Bennet/Getty Images

EAST HANOVER, NJ – It was hard to call the Devil’s contest against the Rangers a must win. They were only three points behind for a wild card spot with over 20 games to go coming in, but their was a hint of desperation in New Jersey’s effort on Tuesday night.

That was probably because they lost three in a row before defeating their cross-town rivals in the New York Rangers (34-20-6), 5-2, in what seemed like a do or die situation.

The offense, which has been an achilles heel much of the season for the Devils (30-24-7), showed up in a big way as they had five different scorers in front of a frantic home crowd.

Sergey Kalinin earned a Gordie Howe hat-trick when he assisted on a goal in the first period, got into a fight with JT Miller in the second and scored on a breakaway in the third, to give his squad a demanding 4-2 lead late in the contest.

Tyler Kennedy scored for the Devils in the first, but then they surrendered two goals in a span of just 45 seconds. New Jersey was down 2-1 after the first 20 minutes.

The Devils got things going in the second period, as they outshot the Rangers 17-5. They were rewarded with two goals.

Kyle Palmieri scored from the left slot on the man-advantage, off a nice feed from teammate Joseph Blandisi, for his team leading 23rd goal of the season. Lee Stempniak broke the 2-2 tie toward the end of the second when he knocked in Adam Henrique’s pass.

Goaltender Corey Schneider was tested often and early and if not for his outstanding play out of the gate, the Devils could have been in trouble early.

Adam Larsson scored an empty netter for New Jersey after the Ranger’s pulled goaltender Henrik Lundqvist late in the game.

With the win, the Devils are now only one point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins (30-20-8) for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference; although they have three games in hand.

They know that they can only celebrate Tuesday’s win for just a little while, as they need to get back to work quickly in an attempt to grind out crucial points down the final stretch of the season.

Their next match-up comes against the Blue Jackets (24-29-8) on Friday in Columbus, at 7 p.m.   

The Devils were 1 for 3 on the power-play and blocked 13 Ranger shots in the game.

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