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Devils make most of disputed goal

THE New Jersey Devils thought it was the proper call. The Columbus Blue Jackets didn't think anything about it was right.

John Madden scored a controversial goal to help the Devils overcome a third-period deficit and beat the Blue Jackets 2-1 on Friday night. With the game tied at 1 and 8:41 remaining, the outcome teetered on one play.

David Clarkson's shot appeared to be covered by Columbus goaltender Steve Mason for a second or two before the puck slid free. Madden beat defenseman Fedor Tyutin to the loose puck while the Blue Jackets' other defenseman, Marc Methot, appeared to be pushed into the goal post and dislodged it - an instant before Madden jammed the puck across the goal line.

Referee Don Koharski signaled a goal immediately. The play was reviewed by NHL video officials in Toronto. After a few minutes delay, Koharski said the call on the ice would stand, much to the displeasure of a crowd of 17,738 that loudly booed.

"The call was the call on the ice," New Jersey coach Brent Sutter said.

"He called it a goal because he felt that we weren't the team that pushed the net off. And the replay showed that. The puck was on its way into the net and their defenseman knocked the net off. That's clearly a goal. It went our way - but it was the right way."

Madden had the best view, but almost shrugged his shoulders.

"Once it's called a goal on the ice, it's hard to overturn," he said. "It's the way the game goes sometimes."

Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock argued with Koharski and fellow official Andy McElman after the ruling.

"(Koharski) said the call was his and (Toronto) sent it back down to him- they ruled it inconclusive," Hitchcock said. "He said 'The call was mine and I called it a goal."'

Asked if he had seen the replay, Hitchcock said he had.

"Yes. The net was off and Methot was pushed in by (New Jersey's Jamie) Langenbrunner," Hitchcock said. "The net was off, but it's the referee's call and he called it a goal. It's a little bit disappointing. We haven't caught a break on one of these yet this year."

Columbus has had several other reviews in Toronto - most notably a goal by Manny Malhotra that would have won a game in Dallas - disallowed. Many of the Blue Jackets believe the review officials have it in for them.

In Chicago, Chris Drury scored his second power-play goal of the game in overtime, giving the New York Rangers their third straight NHL win, defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2.

In Sunrise, Florida, Simon Gagne scored the only goal in the shootout, and Philadelphia's Antero Niittymaki stopped all three Florida shooters as the Flyers won 3-2.

Niittymaki ended the shootout when he blocked Nathan Horton's wrist shot. He made 32 saves over regulation and overtime.

In other action, it was: Penguins 3, Ducks 1; Oilers 3, Avalanche 2; and Thrashers 4, Maple Leafs 3, OT.


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