OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) Henrik Lundqvist was far from his stingy best. He was still plenty good enough to become the New York Rangers’ winningest goalie.
Lundqvist made 35 saves for his 302nd career victory and New York used a four-goal second period to cruise past the Ottawa Senators 8-4 on Tuesday night.
”It’s an incredible feeling,” said Lundqvist, who broke a tie with Mike Richter. ”A proud feeling. Being up there with those guys that have played for the organization for a lot of years and the franchise has been around for so long, it’s kind of surreal. I want to keep going obviously and hopefully I have a lot of years left to keep winning.
”I’ve been lucky to play with a lot of great players and it’s been a great ride so far.”
Lundqvist has a career goals-against average of 2.27, far less than the four goals he allowed against Ottawa.
Derick Brassard, Benoit Pouliot, John Moore and Ryan McDonagh all scored in the second, with the final three coming less than four minutes apart late in the period. Brassard and Rick Nash each finished with two goals.
”In the second period, I think we really took over,” Brassard said.
Mike Hoffman, Mika Zibanejad, Milan Michalek and Bobby Ryan scored for the Senators, who have lost four straight and eight of 10.
With the Rangers trailing 2-1, Brassard scored at 8:56 of the second period. Pouliot put New York ahead at 15:48 when he beat Robin Lehner after taking the puck away from Jason Spezza in the slot as the Senators captain got tangled up trying to recover a pass in his skates.
”We’ve been struggling scoring goals,” Brassard said, ”so we found a way as a group to score some goals in the second and there’s where we took over.”
Moore scored at 18:44 as he shot the puck toward the goal from along the boards after crossing the blue line into the Ottawa zone. McDonagh scored a minute later when he tipped a shot in past Lehner, who allowed five goals on 26 shots and was replaced by Nathan Lawson to start the third period. But Lawson allowed two goals early and was replaced by Lehner with eight minutes to play after making eight saves.
”We’re embarrassed,” Spezza said. ”It was a must-win game for us and to give up eight is nothing but unacceptable. They get the lead and we just unravel. It’s kind of been the same thing all year for us. We haven’t been consistent enough and able to play with leads enough and it seems like tonight was a microcosm of a lot of things.”
Nash scored a short-handed goal in the first period and added an empty-netter, and the Rangers also got a goal from Derek Stepan.
With just 14 games remaining in the regular season, the Senators trail the Rangers by nine points for the final playoff spot and there are three other teams between the clubs.
”We knew it before the game,” Ryan said. ”We talked about it, we touched on it that these were four points essentially, and to give up eight at home is awful.”
The night started well for the Senators as Hoffman scored on a one-timer from the point seven minutes in. Just seconds later, they were awarded a power play when Carl Hagelin was called for hooking. Hoffman was playing the point on the power play and he got stripped of the puck at New York’s blue line by Nash, who went in and beat Lehner.
Four minutes later, Zibanejad scored with the man advantage to send the Senators into the first intermission ahead 2-1.
NOTES: Matt Kassian, Patrick Wiercioch and Craig Anderson were scratches for the Senators. Scratches for the Rangers were: Raphael Diaz, Derek Dorsett, Ryan Haggerty and Justin Faulk. … Erik Karlsson continues to lead all NHL defensemen in scoring with 61 points. He also leads the Senators in scoring. … The last time Lehner started three straight games before Tuesday was in early November. He won all three and was named the NHL first star of the week.