NEW YORK - Michal Rozsival's aching left knee made the New York Rangers' best defenseman a question mark for the biggest games of the season.
He left the series opener early in Buffalo and gritted his way through Game 2 when another hit to the leg slowed him again. But Rozsival was back on the blue line for the Rangers yesterday, and his hard drive found its way into the net in double overtime to give New York a 2-1 victory, shooting life back into the Rangers' season.
Rozsival got the puck through traffic and off the post behind screened goalie Ryan Miller 16 minutes, 43 seconds into the second overtime. That gave New York its first win over the Sabres in seven tries this season and ended the Rangers' longest game in exactly 36 years.
Buffalo still leads the Eastern Conference semifinal series, two games to one, but the Rangers can get even with a Game 4 victory tomorrow night in Madison Square Garden.
"Everybody was really tired, I guess," Rozsival said after logging a game-high 38:16. "I was just focusing on hitting the puck, and I was lucky enough that I had a lucky shot."
It was just the type of good fortune the Rangers were seeking after dropping a pair in Buffalo. New York figured it deserved a better fate than to come home down against the NHL's best team in the regular season.
"They have confidence. They have a game underneath their belt. We want to go up and they want to tie it up," Sabres defenseman Brian Campbell said. "It's not going to be easy."
Jaromir Jagr gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead in the second period, but the Sabres tied it late in the third when Daniel Briere finally took advantage of a slew of Buffalo power plays.
After that, it was a goaltending duel between Henrik Lundqvist and Miller.
Ducks 3, Canucks 2
VANCOUVER, British Columbia - This time Anaheim bounced back.
Corey Perry scored the go-ahead goal on a power play 7:51 into the third period as the Ducks recovered from a double-overtime loss at home in Game 2 with a victory over Vancouver.
Francois Beauchemin and Dustin Penner also scored, and Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 24 saves, including three in the final seconds, as the Ducks took a two-games-to-one lead in the series.
Special teams were the difference for the Ducks, who killed off seven of eight Vancouver power plays - including a pair of lengthy five-on-three advantages - and converted two of their four chances at the other end.