The Anaheim Ducks took nothing for granted on the last day of their longest road trip of the season.
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They didn’t sit back and put the New York Rangers into an early hole they never got out of.
Frederik Andersen made 32 saves to stay perfect in four NHL games, and Corey Perry and Kyle Palmieri scored first-period goals to lead the Ducks to a 2-1 victory over the Rangers on Monday night.
”To play in Madison Square Garden is something special. I love New York,” Andersen said. ”There are so many great things to do here, and I guess another one is to win a hockey game.”
The Ducks finished a season-high, eight-game road trip 5-2-1 — including 5-0-1 in the final six games. Perry and Palmieri staked Anaheim to a 2-0 lead just 9:09 in, and the 24-year-old Andersen did the rest.
”He was huge, kept us in it all night,” Palmieri said. ”We were able to get those two goals, and he made it stand up. He’s been awesome. Tonight was no different.”
In four NHL games, all this season, Andersen is 4-0. He has allowed a total of five goals, and only defenseman Michael Del Zotto got a puck past him.
”We dug deep for this one,” Perry said. ”Last one on a road trip is always the toughest one, and we earned it. We’re ready to get home.”
Ryan McDonagh pressed for the tying goal with 6:00 remaining in the game, and was twice denied on hard shots. Benoit Pouliot then had an in-close backhander stopped with 5:17 left, but drew a penalty.
The Rangers received their third power play with 3:26 remaining, but that advantage was cut short when Pouliot took New York’s first penalty of the game. Another came moments later for too many men on the ice.
That killed any chance of a comeback.
”Sometimes goalies have to come through,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. ”We started playing like we didn’t want to lose instead of going after them, which I think we did for most of the third period. That’s when you need your goalie to come up big.”
Henrik Lundqvist stopped 23 shots for the Rangers, who had a three-game winning streak snapped and dropped to 2-1 on a homestand that ends Wednesday against Pittsburgh.
”It was definitely not the way we wanted to start off this game,” Lundqvist said. ”They showed why they are a good team. They make you pay when things like that happen early.
”We could’ve easily had at least a point today.”
Andersen preserved his shutout — albeit briefly — when he made a stellar save of a hard one-timer from the slot by Brad Richards with 1:44 remaining in the second after Richards took a feed from behind the net from Carl Hagelin. The Rangers kept the heat on the Ducks, who were forced to ice the puck.
New York regained control on the ensuing faceoff and cut the deficit to 2-1 with 1:24 left. Rangers captain Ryan Callahan put the puck on net, and Hagelin whacked at the rebound. With Andersen sprawled on his stomach, Del Zotto scored his first of the season from the lower edge of the circle.
That sparked the crowd, and the fans were still cheering when McDonagh twice knocked Perry over the short boards and into the New York bench. McDonagh kept him doubled over the second time, and Rangers coach Alain Vigneault kept an arm around Derek Dorsett to prevent him from taking any shots at Perry as the period ended.
In the first, the Ducks picked up where they left off against the Rangers when they sent New York to a 6-0 drubbing on Oct. 10 at Anaheim.
”They are a good team and they showed why they are in the high echelons of the NHL,” Vigneault said. ”They don’t give you a lot.
”I don’t look at it as we lost (6-0) and then we found a way to lose 2-1 tonight. We needed to be better in certain areas.”
Anaheim grabbed the lead 1:29 in when Perry scored his ninth.
Dustin Penner sent a shot in that was stopped by Lundqvist, but no one picked up Perry in front, and he scored with his second whack at the rebound. The Ducks doubled their lead 6:40 later with help from the Rangers.
Richards cleared the puck out, but he put it right on the stick of Francois Beauchemin in the neutral zone. Beauchemin skated the puck back in and found Palmieri in the high slot for a shot that beat Lundqvist.
”This is a game of mistakes and making your opponent pay when they make mistakes,” Vigneault said.
NOTES: Ducks D Luca Sbisa made his season debut after being out with a lower-body injury and assisted on Perry’s goal. . . . Callahan returned from a seven-game absence caused by a broken left thumb. . . . Andersen entered with a 1.50 goals-against average and .944 save percentage.