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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

New York's Strategic Timeout Helps Quench Atlanta's Flame


NEW YORK -- It is unusual for a hockey player to call a timeout -- you only get one a game -- but New York Rangers captain Mark Messier did it 17 seconds into a second-period power play with the Rangers trailing the Atlanta Flames 2-0 at Madison Square Garden.

Messier said he wanted to give Brian Leetch a breather and make a tactical adjustment. The strategy worked.

Leetch got a goal 1:03 later and the Rangers (1-3-2) went on to a 5-4 victory Tuesday. They are the last NHL team to get a win this season. Thanks to "coach'' Messier.

Messier said the Flames' penalty-killing forwards were covering the Rangers' pointmen high and one of the Calgary defensemen was up tight on the Rangers' wingman -- Messier or Wayne Gretzky. That should have left a two-on-one down low, but the Rangers were not getting the puck to the net.

"We had to make an adjustment and get the puck down low,'' Messier said, "and we did. ... As soon as we started getting the puck down low, it seemed to open things up for us.''

The game seemed to turn at that point. After the timeout, Alexei Kovalev checked defenseman Cale Hulse off the puck, took Gretzky's pass behind the net and fed Leetch near the right post. Leetch tapped it past goalie Trevor Kidd for his first goal of the season at 10:36.

The Rangers seemed to feed on the emotion that first goal provided. Sergei Nemchinov tied it at 2 with his first goal and the 100th of his career at 11:08. Messier then put them ahead 22 seconds into the third period with his first goal on a screened right-circle wrist shot.

Oilers 6, Coyotes 3. At Phoenix, Jason Arnott and Dean McAmmond spoiled Jeremy Roenick's debut with Phoenix by scoring two goals apiece as Edmonton won 6-3, snapping their two-game skid. ()

(For other results, see Scorecard.)