NEW YORK – Too much sun forced the boys of winter to wait to play at the famous ballpark in the Bronx.
Once clouds filled the skies over Yankee Stadium and snow began to fall — hockey weather, for sure — Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers got the best of the New Jersey Devils.
Rick Nash scored for the fifth straight game during New York’s four-goal middle period, and the Rangers rallied for a 7-3 victory over the Devils on Sunday before a crowd of 50,105.
Sun reflecting off the ice delayed the start of the first hockey game at Yankee Stadium for about an hour. The wait was expected to be longer, so Lundqvist took a nap. Cloud cover took care of that problem more quickly than expected.
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Suddenly the All-Star goaltender was awakened and told warmups would be in 30 minutes. He put on his pinstripe pads, but still looked groggy in the first period when New Jersey took a 3-1 lead.
“I was half asleep, mentally somewhere else, but then I regrouped and I am happy with how I finished,” Lundqvist said.
“I’m not going to lie, when they scored the third one, I had a bad feeling about it. My first thought was, ‘Am I going to be able to finish this game? Then you kind of regroup and tell yourself, ‘I need to stop the next shot. That’s it. There is no other way to do this.’ ”
Devils counterpart Martin Brodeur had no such luck. He allowed six goals on 21 shots and was replaced by Cory Schneider at the start of the third.
“You rely a lot on instinct, and poise, and I couldn’t close my glove, it was so cold,” said Brodeur, who along with Rangers coach Alain Vigneault criticized the chippy ice that required repairs.
Temperature at faceoff was 25 degrees.
New York trailed 3-2 at the first intermission and then swarmed Brodeur.
Mats Zuccarello scored two straight to put New York ahead for the first time. Carl Hagelin and Nash found the net, too, behind the beleaguered Brodeur, who angrily swatted the puck away after one of the goals.
“Most of their goals went in off our players, or a stick or skate, and that happens,” Brodeur said.
Canucks beat Coyotes in overtime
VANCOUVER, B.C. – Defenseman Kevin Bieksa scored his second goal of the game at 2:15 of overtime, lifting the Vancouver Canucks to a 5-4 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes.
Zac Dalpe and Chris Higgins each had goal and an assist for Vancouver and Jannik Hansen also scored. Roberto Luongo, shaky at times, made 29 saves for the Canucks.
On the deciding play, Bieksa chipped his fourth goal of the season over Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith shortly after a Canucks power play expired in the extra period.
Antoine Vermette had a hat trick for Phoenix. Smith finished with 20 saves.
Mike Sullivan, who is guiding the Canucks during coach John Tortorella’s six-game suspension, said, “It was a strange game on both sides. It was bizarre. I think there might have been one goal that was actually shot in the net.
“ It seemed like everything was a deflection off a skate, off a stick, off something, so it was just one of those games for both sides.”