Blackhawks 2, Rangers 1, OT

Once Dustin Byfuglien started up ice, the 6-foot-4, 257-pound

Chicago Blackhawks’ winger kept accelerating. He raced past

defenseman Matt Gilroy, got an angle to the net and then beat

goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

Byfuglien’s goal 3:43 into overtime Wednesday night gave the

Chicago Blackhawks another dramatic victory, 2-1 over the New York

Rangers.

“I got the puck, got on my horse and took off,” Byfuglien

said. “Got a good clear lane to the net, drove and got it

five-hole. … They were tired at the end of their shift. Put the

jets on and see what happens. It turned out pretty good.”

The Blackhawks have won 3 of 4 – with all three victories coming

after regulation.

After Duncan Keith blocked a shot attempt by the Rangers’ Vinny

Prospal, the puck went ahead to Byfuglien and he looked line a

runaway linebacker.

“The ice always opens up 4-on-4. You take your chances. Things

happen,” Byfuglien said.

“It was the highlight of the year,” Chicago coach Joel

Quenneville said. “Great speed, great presence of mind. He cut in.

Nice finish as well.”

The Blackhawks tied the game with 5:55 left in regulation on a

power play – their fifth of the game – when Jonathan Toews chipped

in a goal after a scrum in front of the net as Chicago finally got

one past Lundqvist, who finished with a season-high 39 saves.

“We were frustrated because he was making some great saves. But

we stuck with it,” Quenneville said.

“It hurts so much, especially when you give up the late goals

and you’re not able to get the two points. It’s painful,”

Lundqvist said. “Not being able to get the two points, it

hurts.”

Christopher Higgins scored for Rangers in the first period and

it appeared Lundqvist would shut out the Blackhawks.

“He was the one who played. He was about the only one who

played,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said.

“My concern tonight is just a level of competing, which was

horrid as far as I’m concerned. It was unacceptable. … If guys

thought they were trying tonight, they’re in for a rude

awakening.”

The Blackhawks improved to 19-7-3. The Rangers lost for the

fifth time in six games, but no fault of Lundqvist’s.

Marian Gaborik, the leading goal scorer in the NHL entering the

game, made a nice pass from the right circle to Higgins in the left

circle and he fired a hard wrist shot past Cristobal Huet, staking

the Rangers to a 1-0 lead in the first.

Lundqvist made a nice save in the second period on Toews after

he broke free from the right circle. Minutes later, he stopped a

hard shot by Andrew Ladd from right in front. He then turned away

four shot attempts on a Chicago power play and snuffed a

close-range shot from Marian Hossa with 36 seconds to go in the

second.

A high-sticking penalty on New York’s Michal Rozsival with about

10 minutes left in regulation gave the Blackhawks their fourth

power play, but again they couldn’t convert as a long attempt by

Brian Campbell was deflected, hit the crossbar and came down.

The Blackhawks peppered Lundqvist with 30 shots in the first two

periods, while Huet faced just 15.

Huet finished with 17 saves.

NOTES: D Wade Redden returned for the Rangers after missing five

games because of a shoulder injury. LW Donald Brashear, out two

games with a hand and wrist injury, was also back for New York. …

The assist gave Gaborik 39 points. He entered the game two behind

Joe Thornton for the league lead.