NHL Playoffs: Rangers 4, Devils 1
NEWARK, N.J. ó If Scott Gomez’s ribs were still sore during the New York Rangers’ playoff opener, he transferred every bit of that discomfort to the team that let him get away.
In his first postseason game against the Devils ó the club the All-Star forward grew up with ó Gomez had three assists in the New York Rangers’ 4-1 win over New Jersey on Wednesday night.
Gomez matched his point total from the final six games of the regular season after he returned to the lineup following a one-game absence that was caused by a rib injury.
At least outwardly, Gomez didn’t express any particular pleasure in tormenting the Devils.
“It’s the playoffs. It doesn’t matter who you play,” he said. “It could have been any team. As you get older, the years go by faster.
“I’ve got a lot of friends over there, but the way you’re raised over there, it doesn’t matter who’s in the way. There were no extra emotions.”
The winning goal came off a gaffe by goalie Martin Brodeur, who played his 154th consecutive playoff game for the Devils. Ryan Callahan surprised him with a scoring swoop around the net in the third period, and the Rangers wrested away home-ice advantage.
Callahan’s shot off a drop pass from Gomez, trickled tantalizingly in the crease as Brodeur moved slowly to corral it. Callahan followed his short-handed shot and flew in front near the left post to bang the puck in at 7:23, with ne second left on a Devils power play.
“I was trying to get there as quick as possible,” Callahan said. “A lot of times, he makes the good play. … It’s not too often he’s going to mishandle it. I was just lucky enough to be there when he did.”
Until then, the Rangers hadn’t recorded a shot in the third.
“(Callahan) was the first one to take the shot, and I was only looking at Gomer,” Brodeur said of his longtime teammate. “I didn’t know he was around. You have to freeze that. It’s not the way I play. I like to keep the play moving. I made a mistake, and I cost us.”