The Rangers rely on Henrik Lundqvist to lock things down on defense. They just never counted on Nigel Dawes to supply all the offense.
Lundqvist made 22 saves in his second shutout in three games, and Dawes broke New York out of its scoring slump with two goals last night to lift the Rangers to a 2-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils in Madison Square Garden.
Dawes scored his first in the opening minute and then took the tension away with 3:53 left as the Rangers shook off consecutive 1-0 defeats and snapped a four-game losing skid.
"Just keep shooting," said Dawes, who has three NHL goals in 12 career games. "I didn't think quick [goal], but we definitely wanted a good start."
New York is playing without injured forwards Martin Straka, Sean Avery, and Ryan Callahan, and were forced to move defenseman Jason Strudwick up to the fourth line against the Devils.
"I like the way the team is playing right now," Lundqvist said after his ninth NHL shutout. "We just have to score a little bit more.
"I know we might not score that much, so I have to keep focused and play a very good game to get the win."
Scott Gomez didn't get on the scoresheet in his first game against the Devils after seven seasons with New Jersey, but stressed the greater importance of earning a victory.
"I grew up with half those guys," the 27-year-old center said. "It's just weird to see the red and black and going against it."
Blue Jackets 3, Blues 0 - Rick Nash scored a goal in his fifth straight game on a shot between his legs, and Pascal Leclaire stopped 36 shots to lead host Columbus.
Jared Boll had a goal, and Nash also assisted on Jiri Novotny's awarded goal. Novotny was skating in on an empty net late in the game when he was hooked from behind by Eric Brewer, the officials awarding the goal to Novotny - his fourth goal in five games.
Ahead, 1-0, and on the power play late in the second period, the Blue Jackets worked the puck around the perimeter and had several good scoring chances. Ron Hainsey then tried a slap shot from the blue line that was just wide to the right of the goal cage. Nash played the ricochet off the back boards like Manny Ramírez fielding a ball off the Green Monster, stretching to reach the puck to pull it in and then lifting the shot between his legs and high into the top of the net.
Maple Leafs 5, Penguins 2 - Jiri Tlusty, playing his first NHL game, scored two goals 35 seconds apart during a four-goal flurry in the third period and visiting Toronto shook off an early season slump to end Pittsburgh's three-game winning streak.
Oilers 5, Wild 4 - Ales Hemsky scored twice in regulation and added the shootout winner to help host Edmonton end a two-game losing skid.
Kings 2, Stars 1 - Alexander Frolov scored the go-ahead goal and Jason LaBarbera made 29 saves for host Los Angeles, which snapped a nine-game losing streak to Dallas.
Predators 3, Thrashers 0 - Dan Ellis stopped 20 shots for his first career shutout, helping host Nashville snap a six-game losing streak.
Lightning 5, Flyers 2 - Brad Richards had two goals and Vinny Prospal scored his eighth goal of the season to lead host Tampa Bay.
Coyotes 1, Ducks 0 - Rookie Craig Weller scored his first NHL goal and Alex Auld had his third career shutout for visiting Phoenix.