The crowd, the decibel level and the entire Devils' bench rose as Ilya Kovalchuk picked up the puck for a breakaway.

But to Kovalchuk, there was nothing but silence.

"You don't hear anything," Kovalchuk said after scoring the only goal in a 1-0 victory over the Rangers on Friday night. "A forward has more of a chance on a breakaway than on a penalty shot. The goalie can't really focus. He can try to be ready but you can catch him by surprise."

He may have surprised Henrik Lundqvist with his shot under the Rangers goalie's glove at 8:18 of the second period. He did not surprise any of his teammates.

"At the beginning of the season I would've been gritting my teeth," Jason Arnott said. "Now he has confidence. You know he's going to bury it."