David Clarkson registered two goals and an assist, while Martin Brodeur stopped all but one of the 25 shots he faced, to help the New Jersey Devils earn a 3-1 victory over the New York Rangers in a rematch of the Eastern Conference finals on Tuesday at Prudential Center.
Adam Henrique also lit the lamp and Patrik Elias added a trio of assists for the Devils, who have won two straight on the heels of a four-game skid.
"It'd be nice to get but at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter," Clarkson said of falling a goal shy of his first career hat trick. "The most important thing is that win and how the team did."
Chris Kreider scored the lone New York goal and Henrik Lundqvist was charged with all three goals on 22 shots in the setback, the Rangers' second in their last three games.
"We have some guys on our hockey club that are really playing hard, and we have some guys that look scared and tentative," New York coach John Tortorella remarked. "I'll tell you right now we're not waiting. We don't play careful hockey."
New Jersey struck first five minutes into the contest, as Clarkson made a nice backhand feed from behind the net to Henrique just inside the left circle and the 22-year-old center one-timed a shot high over Lundqvist to make it 1-0.
After the Devils killed off a double-minor at the 13:09 mark, New Jersey's aggressive forecheck kept the pressure on deep in New York's zone and a loose puck ended up in the slot, where Clarkson recovered it and ripped a shot past Lundqvist for a 2-0 lead with 53 seconds left.
New York controlled the play in the second and outshot the Devils 9-4 in the frame, but Brodeur turned away all nine shots to maintain New Jersey's two- goal advantage.
New Jersey then padded its lead while on the power play just under three minutes into the third when Clarkson pounded home a rebound from in front off an Andy Greene blast from the point.
The Rangers finally cracked the scoreboard at the 6:28 mark when Kreider wristed a shot from the left dot that snuck high over the short-side shoulder of Brodeur to bring New York within 3-1.
However, the hosts would pull no closer, as Brodeur stood tall between the pipes to preserve the Devils' two-goal edge.
The Devils ousted top-seeded New York in six games last spring to earn a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals ... New York forward J.T. Miller, the 15th overall pick of the 2011 draft, made his NHL debut and finished with two shots in over 14 minutes of ice time ... New York finished 0-for-5 on the power play, while New Jersey went 1-for-4 ... New York defenseman Dan Girardi did not play because he is "banged up", according to the team.