Ryan Carter was at least one player among the group of Devils angered by Brandon Dubinsky's comments last week directed toward teammate David Clarkson.
Following the Rangers' 2-0 win against New Jersey last Monday, Dubinsky ripped Clarkson for his selectivity in fighting. After fighting Clarkson during the game Dubinsky told reporters that Clarkson "seems to turn away at the tougher guys," and "say 'No' a lot," when asked to answer the bell.
Those words resonated with the Devils and Carter stepped in on Clarkson's behalf early in the first, dropping the gloves against Dubinsky 3:03 into play. Dubinsky suffered a hand injury during the fight and did not return to the game.
"I don't think the two games were too happy with how the other handled the situation," Carter said. "Talking to [Clarkson] I think there were some comments made that probably didn't need to be made. I don't know if he wanted to play that type of game again tonight. I saw him give [Eric] Boulton a slash in the leg and we kind of went from there."
Clarkson declined to address Dubinsky's comments but clearly appreciated both Carter's willingness to step up as well as Cam Janssen's. Janssen squared off against the Rangers hulking enforcer John Scott later in the first.
"That's another reason we won tonight. We didn't back down," said Clarkson, who notched his 26th goal of the season during the third. "Like I've said before, people want fighting out of the game, but that's the reason right there. Those two aren't fighting for themselves or for fun, they're doing it for the front of the jersey and to me that's the best thing you can do."
Carter's contributions went beyond his fists, however. The gritty fourth-liner also scored his third goal of the season, burying a pass from linemate Jacob Josefson to beat Lundqvist for a 3-1 Devils' lead at 4:21 of the third.
"He's doing it all," said Ilya Kovalchuk. "Fighting, scoring, killing penalties."
Said coach Pete DeBoer:
"He came to play tonight and gave us, I thought, some really great depth contributions."