After spending much of the first penned in their own end, the Rangers rebounded to erase their early deficit and briefly take the lead thanks to their previously inept power play.
With Alexei Ponikarovsky off for interference, Staal fired a shot that sailed wide of the net and struck the back boards before popping back in front and pinballing into the net off Salvador and Brodeur at 2:23. The goal was originally credited to Derek Stepan, who was in front, but the puck managed to miss him both on the way toward the net and on the bounce back.
"I saw most of the pucks, but the Rangers came out hard," Brodeur said. "They were around me a lot, and there were some bad bounces. It's such a tough place to play sometimes here. There are bad bounces, and the boards are terrible."
Staal nearly netted another moments later when he ripped a drive that Brodeur had to lunge fully to his left to snare with his glove.
Kreider, the rookie from Boston College, scored for the second straight game to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead at 12:19. Anton Stralman let go a shot from above the right circle that ticked Kreider's stick and fluttered past Brodeur for the rookie's fourth goal. He had to wait to get it because it was first given to Stralman before being changed during a commercial break.
But that was hardly the longest delay of the night. Before Kreider's power-play goal, the action was stopped for about eight minutes as arena workers struggled to get the door to the Devils' penalty box opened. Travis Zajac stood patiently as he waited to have a seat in the box. He even managed to laugh as did New Jersey coach Peter DeBoer and the usually stoic and agitated Tortorella.
Zajac, who first was sent to the Rangers' box, stayed in New Jersey's sin bin for only 1:47 before Kreider scored the Rangers' second power-play goal of the night.
New York registered the first six shots of the period before New Jersey had its first about 8 minutes in, but the teams were even at 17 through 40 minutes.
Whether Brodeur was kidding or not about wanting Rangers to be injured by blocking shots, the home team wasn't deterred from getting in front of drives.
"We have to try to get in lanes," Callahan said. "Try to limit their time with the puck. If we do that, they are not going to have time to shoot."
NOTES: The Rangers were 10 for 61 (16.4 percent) on the power play in the postseason before Wednesday. ... The Devils returned defenseman Peter Harrold to the lineup and sat rookie Adam Larsson.
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