NEWARK, N.J., April 9 (UPI) --
A short-handed tally by Ryan Callahan
kicked off a three-goal third period Wednesday, giving the New York Rangers a playoff-opening 4-1 win over New Jersey.
The Rangers grabbed home-ice advantage in the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with Callahan, Sean Avery and Nigel Dawes scoring in the final 20 minutes to break open what had been a tight battle.
Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves for the Rangers, who are coming off their third consecutive 40-win season. Scott Gomez added three assists.
The lone New Jersey goal came from Paul Martin while Martin Brodeur stopped 24 shots.
The outcome continued a season-long trend involving these teams. The Rangers defeated the Devils in seven of their eight regular-season meetings.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series will be played Friday in New Jersey.
Callahan scored 7:23 into the third period and Avery gave the Rangers some insurance with 2:53 to play. Dawes added an empty-net goal with five seconds remaining.
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