NEW YORK (AP) Henrik Lundqvist wasn’t expecting to face a high number of shots by the Anaheim Ducks. No matter, though. The veteran goalie was up to the challenge.
Lundqvist made a season-high 43 saves, Michael Grabner scored twice and the New York Rangers beat the Ducks 4-1 on Tuesday night for their sixth win in eight games.
”I watched a couple of scouting reports going into this game and I saw they didn’t shoot much in those games,” Lundqvist said. ”I went into the first period expecting a 20-shot game and then right away they set the tone by throwing pucks at me.”
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Lundqvist faced 16 shots in each of the first two periods, but the Rangers kept the area in front of him clear and limited Anaheim’s second chances.
”They boxed out the guys so well,” Lundqvist said. ”There were so many shots from the point and from far out with traffic. The way they battled in front to help me there I think was the key for me and for the team.”
Mats Zuccarello and Oscar Lindberg also scored to help the Rangers beat the Ducks for the fifth straight time. Brady Skjei and J.T. Miller each had two assists.
Lundqvist gave up fewer than three goals for the sixth time in his last seven starts, improving to 6-1-0 in that stretch. In this one, he topped the 40 saves he made in a 3-2 win at Philadelphia on Nov. 25.
”There was no doubt Hank was on top of his game right from the start,” said Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, who got his 600th victory. ”They had long possession times in our own end and he made key saves at the right time. … We were able to get a couple of odd-man rushes out of them and we were able to bury them and win the game.”
The Rangers’ Derek Stepan was shaken up after a hard hit into the boards by Logan Shaw about three minutes into the third. No penalty was called on Shaw for the hit.
With the teams skating 4-on-4, Grabner made it 3-1 when he got a pass from Miller while driving to the net and put it past Gibson at 3:45.
Grabner added an empty-netter in the final minute for his team-leading 25th goal. He now has 34 points – his highest total since he had career highs of 34 goals and 52 points in 2010-11 with the Islanders.
Jakob Silfverberg scored and John Gibson finished with 16 saves for the Ducks, who have lost five of seven (2-4-1).
”We dominated the game from start to finish and it’s a tough pill to swallow because you outplay the other team and outshoot them 3-1 (and it) doesn’t mean that you win,” Ducks defenseman Kevin Bieksa said. ”Yeah, we played great, but we didn’t get any points so who cares right? So back to the drawing board for next game.”
Zuccarello made it 2-0 when he knocked a pass from Chris Kreider past Gibson from the right circle for his 11th at 1:06 of the second. It was Zuccarello’s third goal in six games after a 14-game drought.
Seconds after Lundqvist denied Bradon Mountour from in close, Grabner had a breakaway at the other end but his attempt was gloved by Gibson. He also made a diving stop going from his left to right to deny Jimmy Vesey from the left side. Kevin Hayes, back after missing five games with a lower-body injury, was also stopped by Gibson in close.
Silfverberg pulled the Ducks within one at 6:14 of the middle period with his 16th.
Lindberg got New York on the scoreboard 4:01 into the game when he got a pass from Pavel Buchnevich from behind the net and wristed it past Gibson from the right side for his second goal in 36 games this season.
NOTES: The Ducks came in with the league’s sixth-best penalty-killing unit at 84.3 percent and held the Rangers scoreless on one power play. Anaheim has given up just one power-play goal in opponents’ last 26 chances. … The Ducks are now 2-15-7 when trailing after two periods. … The teams conclude their season series March 26 at Anaheim. … Kreider has a point in four straight games. … The Rangers improved 17-5-0 against Western Conference teams, including 10-1-0 against the Pacific Division.
Ducks: At Buffalo on Thursday night in the fourth game of a six-game trip.
Rangers: Host Nashville on Thursday night.
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