While nothing is awarded in February, the muscle memory of a 3-0 win over the Bruins Tuesday night could serve the Rangers well if the Original Six rivals meet this spring.
Henrik Lundqvist made 42 saves to record his NHL-leading seventh shutout.
Ryan Callahan, Ryan McDonagh and Artem Anisimov scored for the Rangers, who increased their Eastern Conference-leading point total to 79.
Much like the Bruins were in their Cup run last spring, the truth about the Rangers is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. But their most indispensable player is their goaltender.
Lundqvist is authoring a season that could see him win the Hart and Vezina trophies. Should he earn both awards, the second period last night could be key, as Lundqvist turned away all 14 Boston shots. He made a handful of deflection saves and was at his most spectacular when he stood firm against in-close attempts by Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara.
“I just went down and covered the ice,” Lundqvist said. “I thought I had it. Then I turned around and saw the puck.”
He also benefitted from some good fortune as a shot off the stick of Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg was lodged in the mesh outside of the goal. The majority of the sellout crowd reacted to seeing the mesh shake and believed the Bruins scored. A brief review showed Seidenberg’s shot was wide and the goal was disallowed.
“There were times [I] had luck. You need it in a game like this,” Lundqvist said. “You need the bounces.”
The Rangers led 2-0 after the first period on the strength of Callahan’s power play marker 10:09 into the game and Ryan McDonagh’s unassisted even strength goal at 19:48.
- Denis Gorman/METRO
Celtics: Sports Illustrated writer Chris Mannix whet Celtics fans’ appetites yesterday morning on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan program when he stated that he still believes the C’s front office covets the services of Orlando big man Dwight Howard, who will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.
“I know Boston believes they can’t get him in a trade, but I really believe the Celtics think they can sell Dwight Howard on the city and on the team if he makes it to free agency ... They can tell him they have Rajon Rondo in place, a great point guard, a top five point guard, Paul Pierce under contract for the next few years and all this cap space to give him a max deal.”