Rangers improve to 5-0 after 4-1 victory over New Jersey

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NEW YORK (AP) -Aaron Voros knows exactly what his job entails with the New York Rangers.

He might bug Martin Brodeur as Sean Avery did during his days on Broadway, but his game looks a whole lot like the one made famous by Detroit Red Wings big man Tomas Holmstrom.

Voros had two goals and three points while pestering Brodeur in the New York Rangers' 4-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Monday night.

"The guys around me make me look good," said Voros, who signed a free-agent deal during the summer. "I just stand there. I have the easiest job in the rink."

Voros scored the second and third Rangers goals, the last coming on a deflection of defenseman Paul Mara's shot that restored the Rangers' two-goal lead 1:39 into the third period. His presence in front of Brodeur provided enough distraction for the tip to go in.

That was just the cushion New York needed to improve to 5-0, matching the team's best start established in 1983.

Voros is playing the way he feels most comfortable, and that is exactly what the Rangers want him to do.

"I don't want to say I'm surprised because I don't think I am," coach Tom Renney said. "We got him for a reason."

The excitement of the latest victory was tempered following the death of 19-year-old Rangers prospect Alexei Cherepanov, who died earlier Monday while playing a game in Russia. Cherepanov collapsed on the Avangard Omsk bench while talking to teammate and former Rangers captain Jaromir Jagr.

A moment of silence was observed before the Rangers game.

"On the bench, we just made some reference about the honorable thing to do was just work real hard for this young fellow," Renney said.

John Madden got the Devils within 2-1 late in the second period, when they outshot the Rangers 12-4, but New Jersey continued to struggle against New York - the team that knocked them out of the first round of last season's playoffs in five games.

New York went 7-0-1 against the cross-river rival Devils (2-1) last season.

"It is what it is," Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner said. "They play well against us. They do the things to get the wins and we're not.

"We have to put out our best game, like they have against us. For the last while, we haven't done that."

Voros' linemate Brandon Dubinsky had a goal and two assists, and Henrik Lundqvist was sharp after getting the night off in New York's 4-3 victory at Philadelphia on Saturday. Lundqvist had 25 saves in going to 4-0.

Brodeur stopped 20 shots in making his 44th consecutive regular-season start, but remained 11 wins behind Patrick Roy's NHL career record.

A rare error by Brodeur, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead with 6:30 left in the first period.

Dubinsky fired a drive that clipped the stick of Johnny Oduya, who was guarding him, and fluttered toward Brodeur. The goalie tracked the shot and had his glove in position to snare it, but the puck tipped off and sailed into the net.

"I tried to bat it down," Brodeur said. "I knew it was coming in a weird way. I just misplayed it and it hit the bottom of my glove."

Brodeur tossed his head back in disbelief as the jubilant Madison Square Garden crowd showered him with derisive chants of "Mar-ty, Mar-ty." And Brodeur couldn't even blame longtime nemesis Avery, who left the Rangers during the offseason.

"We don't see that very often, but we'll take it every time," Renney said.

It was Avery who faced Brodeur and waved his stick in front of the goalie during the teams' playoff series, leading to a rule change the following day to make that practice illegal.

New York became the first team in three games to score more than once against the workhorse Brodeur, who has posted a pair of 2-1 victories.

By the end of the game, chants of "Hen-rik, Hen-rik" saluted Lundqvist. Ryan Callahan made it 4-1 by scoring into an empty net with 57.9 seconds remaining.

During a power play, Voros created traffic in front of the New Jersey net and didn't move out of position even though he was shoved by big defenseman Colin White and a bit by Brodeur, who struggled to see around him.

Several shots failed to get through the maze of players, but defenseman Dan Girardi ripped a drive that Voros tipped with his stick and directed in at 6:37 of the second.

Voros, who had a goal and assist in the Rangers' home opener on Friday, has three goals and four assists during a four-game point streak.

He was a 10th-round draft choice by the Devils in 2001.

"You don't have a heartbeat if it doesn't feel good," Voros said of beating New Jersey. "Obviously it feels good to rise from a team's low depth chart and make a name for yourself."

The Devils cut their deficit to one late in the period when Madden got to a rebound in front and swatted a backhand past Lundqvist with 1:48 left for his first goal.

Notes: The Rangers killed New Jersey's three power-play chances and are 21-for-21 this season. ... LW Dan Fritsche made his Rangers' debut, taking the spot of Patrick Rissmiller, who sat out with an ankle injury. ... Jay Pandolfo and Zach Parise both earned their first assist of the season on Madden's goal.



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