NEW YORK – David Clarkson’s deflected goal 2:31 into the third period snapped a tie and lifted the New Jersey Devils to a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers that evened the Eastern Conference finals at one game apiece Wednesday night.

Clarkson built off the momentum created by Ryan Carter’s goal late in the second period that tied the game, 2-2. Ilya Kovalchuk had given the Devils a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal in the first. Defenseman Bryce Salvador added two assists, and Martin Brodeur stopped 23 shots for the win.

“We had to keep going to the net, and I think we were doing some good things,” Clarkson said. “We’ve been playing some good hockey and we’ve got to continue to do it. That is a big win for us.”

Marc Staal and Chris Kreider scored in the second for the Rangers, who lost their third straight Game 2 after winning the series opener. Top-seeded New York, which had 24 saves by Henrik Lundqvist, hasn’t had a two-game lead at any point in these playoffs.

Game 3 is Saturday in New Jersey.

New Jersey got even at 2 when Salvador wound up for a shot at the blue line and fired a drive that Carter — with his back to the net — brilliantly deflected past Lundqvist with 1:51 left in the second. Marian Gaborik stood up straight in front of Salvador, but didn’t drop down as many of his teammates have to try to block the shot. For that, he was pinned to the bench by Coach John Tortorella, even through New York’s power play in the third.

Gaborik returned to the ice with 8:40 remaining.

The Devils kept the pressure on the Rangers at the start of the third and wiped out the good work New York displayed in the second. After spending much of the first penned in their end, the Rangers rebounded to erase their early deficit and briefly take the lead thanks to their previously inept power play.

With Alexei Ponikarovsky off for interference, Staal fired a shot that sailed wide of the net and struck the back boards before popping back in front and pinballing into the net off Salvador and Brodeur at 2:23. The goal was originally credited to Derek Stepan, who was in front, but the puck managed to miss him both on the way toward the net and on the bounce back.

Staal nearly netted another moments later when he ripped a drive that Brodeur had to lunge fully to his left to snare with his glove.

Kreider, the rookie from Boston College, scored for the second straight game to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead at 12:19. Anton Stralman let go a shot from above the right circle that ticked Kreider’s stick and fluttered past Brodeur for the rookie’s fourth goal. He had to wait to get it because it was first given to Stralman before being changed during a commercial break.

NOTES

Phoenix Coyotes forward Martin Hanzal was suspended one game for a hit on Los Angeles Kings forward Dustin Brown. The NHL announced the penalty a day after Hanzal was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct for boarding at 11:01 of the third period in Game 2.