They say misery loves company. With the New Jersey Devils wallowing at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, they sought to let the New York Rangers experience that axiom in person.
Joseph Blandisi scored a goal in the final minute of overtime, and the Devils avoided being swept by the Rangers for the second time in three years with a 3-2 victory at Prudential Center.
The two teams played a mostly lifeless first period, despite 24 shots on goal among the two teams, but, if ever so briefly, the Rangers-Devils rivalry returned to its retro levels of intensity. In the late stages of the second period, John Quenneville scored the first goal of his NHL career, his power play tally putting the Devils up 1-0. The Rangers (45-24-3) tied it 97 seconds later, as Oscar Lindberg was the responsible party. After the Devils (26-33-12) also instantaneously responded, with Taylor Hall scoring his 18th of the season for the 2-1 lead. Afterward, chaos broke out in the final minute, when Nick Holden slammed Miles Wood into the stanchion at the end of the bench. Wood immediately went after Holden, igniting brawls all over the ice. Holden and Jimmy Vesey were sent off for the Rangers, while Wood and Blake Coleman were also sent off. Wood additionally got a ten minute misconduct, as well as gave the Rangers a power play, the penalty served by Blandisi.
The Rangers would take advantage, with Rick Nash scoring on the power play to tie it up once more. The Rangers peppered the New Jersey net with several more opportunities, earning 17 shots overall, but Corey Schneider stood strong with some big saves.
That theme, unfortunately for the Rangers, would carry on into overtime. Despite a majority of play taking place in the Devils’ zone, the Devils managed to break free into victory when Blandisi, who assisted on Quenneville’s goal, got into the Rangers zone and slipped one past Antti Raanta for the win. With the loss, the Rangers lost in the 3-on-3 overtime session for the first time this season.
The Rangers will look to recover immediately, taking on the New York Islanders tonight at Madison Square Garden (8:00, NBCSN).