N.Y. Rangers 4, N.J. Devils 3 (OT)

Thursday, October 18th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ Eric Lindros scored once and assisted on Theo Fleury's overtime goal as the New York Rangers beat the winless New Jersey Devils 4-3 Wednesday night.

Lindros, back in the NHL after a 17-month absence, played against Scott Stevens and the Devils (0-3-0-1) for the first time since the New Jersey captain gave him his last concussion during the 2000 playoffs.

Stevens and Lindros were on the ice together for several shifts but it resulted mostly in halfhearted bumps and nudges. For one play in the second, on a Rangers power play, the two traded elbows and shoves in front of the net. Also in the second, Lindros slammed Stevens into the boards.

Fleury scored during a power play 1:20 into overtime.

Devils defenseman Brian Rafalski had scored consecutive third-period goals to bring the Devils back from a 3-1 deficit and force overtime.

Mike Richter had 46 saves for the Rangers.

Petr Sykora pulled down Petr Nedved just 43 seconds into OT to give the Rangers the man advantage.

New Jersey's Martin Brodeur, who finished with 28 saves, also stood out, especially in the third period when he hurled himself side to side to stop several point-blank shots. But he eventually threw his hands up in frustration at his porous defense.

Rafalski brought New Jersey back with two long-range goals, one on a power play.

His first, at 9:52, was a slap shot from the blue line that Richter never saw. His second, at 12:15, was a high-slot, wrister with the Devils on the power play.

Brian Leetch had a goal and an assist and Nedved also scored for New York.

Lindros benefited from some clean, short passing by Leetch and Fleury to put the Rangers up 2-1 with a power-play goal at 18:39 of the second. He snapped a shot high over Brodeur's glove into a tiny opening in the upper right corner.

Nedved scored 1:13 later with the Rangers still on the power play.

The Rangers had the extra man for both goals because of two minor penalties taken by Scott Gomez. Gomez slashed Sandy McCarthy, and was also called for unsportsmanlike conduct.

After the period was over, Gomez complained to the officials, but was pulled away by Randy McKay and was later benched by coach Larry Robinson.

New Jersey's Bobby Holik opened the scoring 10:51 into the first, but the Rangers tied it at 17:46 on a goal by Leetch.

Stevens tried to clear the puck out from behind the Devils' net and swiped it along the boards. Lindros pinned a defenseman on the boards and the puck scooted beneath the two right to Leetch, who fired a shot past Brodeur.

Notes: Rangers captain Mark Messier is still out with a strained rib. He is day-to-day. ... Rangers D Tomas Kloucek, returning after tearing two ligaments on April 1, wasn't afraid to pummel Turner Stevenson for a penalty 11:17 into the first. Stevenson did not return. ... Madison Square Garden, situated directly above Penn Station, has tightened security. No packages, briefcases, knapsacks, cameras or video equipment are allowed for any event.