NEW YORK – Rangers rookie Derek Stepan scored the tying goal late in regulation and Erik Christensen netted the only goal in the shootout as New York rallied for a 4-3 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night.
Martin Biron turned aside Lee Stempniak, Radim Vrbata and Eric Belanger in the shootout to make Christensen's first-round tally stand up.
Jason LaBarbera, a late fill-in for Phoenix, was in line for his third straight win before Stepan tied it with 5:43 left in regulation.
Dan Girardi had a goal and assist, and Brandon Prust scored a short-handed goal for the Rangers, who have won 10 of 14. Biron made 33 saves.
Taylor Pyatt and Adrian Aucoin scored in the opening 6 minutes, and Martin Hanzal added a goal in the second period, but the Coyotes fell to 0-2 on their six-game road trip.
Stepan tied it by putting in a second rebound. New York captain Chris Drury, in just his third game this season, won a faceoff in the offensive zone back to defenseman Michal Rozsival at the blue line.
Rozsival's shot was stopped, as was Drury's rebound attempt, but Stepan got to the puck at the left post and scored his eighth goal. The Rangers had been behind for all but 1:27 of the game before Stepan tied it.
New York outshot the Coyotes 5-0 in overtime and had the best scoring chance, but Marian Gaborik fired a puck over the net during a 2-on-1 rush.
Pyatt scored 1:27 in and Aucoin made it 2-0 just 4:26 later. LaBarbera nearly got over a gaffe that led to New York's second goal and finished with 30 saves. He was tabbed for the surprise start when No. 1 netminder Ilya Bryzgalov came down with the flu shortly before the game.
With no time to call up a backup goalie from the minors, the scrambling Coyotes signed 26-year-old Tom Fenton, a former college player who works in the communications department of Manhattanville College in nearby Purchase, N.Y. Fenton spent the game on the bench, soaking in his unexpected moment of fame.
LaBarbera, a former Rangers goalie, had played only once since Nov. 10.
New York, which won 4-1 at Pittsburgh on Wednesday, is 9-0 in the second half of back-to-back games. The Coyotes lost 3-0 at New Jersey on Wednesday.
Phoenix got the jump early on the Rangers with a little bit of help from the Madison Square Garden boards.
Kyle Turris dumped the puck into the New York zone from center ice and it took a funny bounce when it reached the left corner. As Biron went behind the net to wait for the puck that never came, it caromed out in front to Pyatt, who tucked a shot inside the left post before the goalie got back into position at 1:27. The goal was scored 21 seconds into the Coyotes' power play.
Phoenix used the man advantage again to push its lead to 3-1 in the second period. Once again, Biron was out of place.
Coyotes defenseman Ray Whitney sent a pass from the high slot across to captain Shane Doan, who skated around diving Rangers defenseman Marc Staal. Doan kept his head up and spotted Hanzal unchecked in front of the crease for an easy goal into an empty net at 9:43.
The Rangers got one back with 5.1 seconds left in the second period off a miscue by LaBarbera, while New York was killing a penalty.
Girardi fired the puck from his end down the ice toward the right corner. Prust chased it while LaBarbera glided toward the puck. The goalie failed to get to it before it reached the corner, and then wasn't allowed to play the puck because it was outside the designated trapezoid.
Prust alertly got it, beat LaBarbera back to the net and shoved a shot in while LaBarbera was sprawling on his back to try to defend the goal. LaBarbera slammed his stick twice — first against the net and then over the crossbar — in disgust.
It was the second time in the game that the Rangers cut their deficit to a goal.
After Aucoin gave Phoenix a 2-0 lead at 5:53, Girardi sliced the lead in half with a power-play goal at 12:07.
Aucoin's goal was his first of the season and first in 38 games dating to March 20.
NOTES: Biron got the start because the Rangers have only two games in the next week. ... The Rangers have scored an NHL-best eight short-handed goals. ... LaBarbera is 2-3-1 this season. ... Rangers RW Ryan Callahan, who broke his left hand on Wednesday, won't need surgery but is expected to be out six to eight weeks.