NEW YORK – A short schedule in the NHL Sunday opened with an early affair in Madison Square Garden where the Detroit Red Wings were looking for two more points in their chase to solidify their spot in the playoff race. The Red Wings were coming off a 7-4 thumping of the New Jersey Devils on Friday.
Meanwhile the Rangers were also coming off a win in Carolina and in need of some momentum to take the edge off a 0-2-1 stretch.
New York got is mojo back as Henrik Lundqvist pitched a 3-0 shutout to earn his 300th win in a Ranger sweater. It was his 49th career shutout, tying with Ranger legend Eddie Giacomin for most shutouts.
“I didn’t think about it going into the game, but after two periods I started thinking about it. I wanted to reach [300 wins] tonight. It’s a good way of challenging yourself,” Lundqvist said. “Going into the third period with a lead, you just have to stay focused and do your thing. The guys will take care of the rest.”
The “rest” was on the stick of Ranger forward Chris Kreider who netted two third period goals including one at the 14-second mark of the frame to seal the win.
“He’s the best goalie in the world. The best around the League and we’re lucky enough to have him on our team,” Kreider said of Lundqvist. “It’s an amazing accomplishment.”
The game-winning goal went to Brian Boyle in the first period who picked up a loose pick in the low slot and whipped a shot past Jimmy Howard for the 1-0 lead.http://
“Our team is deep. We want to be a part of this. It’s good to contribute offensively,” Boyle said. “It was a pretty gutty win this afternoon. A lot of checking and grabbing, but we fought through it and did a good job.”
The Rangers controlled most of the flow of the game except for short stretches of the middle period and the Wings had difficulty getting any traction on the Garden ice.
“I thought that was our worst game probably since the first of January. I’m not trying to take anything away from the Rangers, I thought they played hard, but we weren’t competitive enough,” coach Mike Babcock said. “We didn’t compete physically in the offensive zone, we didn’t make it hard on Lundqvist. I was disappointed with our group today. We obviously as a coaching staff didn’t have them prepared.”
Perhaps sensing the coming pressure of the race for the playoffs, Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault pointed out some areas where his club needs to improve.
“Right now we need contributions, whether it’s blocked shots or making heads-up plays,” Vigneault said. “We had a couple of games where 5-on-5 we weren’t scoring a lot of goals. But tonight’s hopefully a start we can carry.”
In Edmonton, the visiting Los Angeles Kings proved their game has been rediscovered as they extended their winning streak to seven games with a 4-2 win over the Oilers.
Jeff Carter had two goals to back up Jonathan Quick’s 25-save performance on the night.
Neither of Carter’s goals actually came off direct shots on goal. The first was off a deflection of an Oilers defenseman and the second was deflection off a shot from the point that bounced off an Oilers as player as well.
It was a difficult loss for Ben Scrivens in the Edmonton late who badly wanted to beat his former team.
“He [Scrivens] has done it all year, he did it with us too,” Quick said of his former teammate. “I think he is just what this team needed here in Edmonton. He consistently gives you a solid effort and a chance to win every night. We put 50 shots on him and they still had a chance at the end there.http://
“For a few years now, I think it is an area the Oilers needed improvement, not to knock the goalies they had before. The team defense could be better as well. But Scrivens has really stepped in since he came here and given them a chance to win every night.”
Taylor Hall scored in the first to tie things up at one all on as nice a play as one will see in hockey. Hall was skating in on the left wing and took a perfect feed from David Perron who was in the right side of the high slot; Hall scored on Quick with nifty backhand to complete the play.
But it wasn’t enough to knock off the Kings.
“We’re just not there yet as a group,” Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. “I thought we competed much harder and much better than the game where we were in L.A. (2-1 overtime loss on Oct. 27). That game seemed so one-sided and it didn’t feel that way.
“I thought our guys were in the battle, they were sticking together they were playing hard. There was no standing around watching them play. We made our mistakes and then they had two [lucky] goals like that. The first one is a heartbreaker. It’s not a good way to start, it goes off a guy’s foot. That gets you down against a team I consider one of the best in the League.”
In St Paul, the visiting Blues grabbed a 2-0 first period lead and then watched as the Wild pulled even in the second.
The game went to a shootout before the Blues escaped Minnesota with the win and points to set them at the top of the NHL standings.
“[The Wild] played good enough to win tonight,” the Blues’ TJ Oshie said. “We’ll get out of here with the two points, watch some video and be happy about it. It was a tough game tonight.”
Oshie got the scoring started in the first period with a power play goal to give St Louis a 1-0 lead.
The Wild mustered only 19 shots on goal throughout regulation and overtime and Brian Elliot got the win stopping 17.
“When you have guys like [Oshie] and [Steen] in the shootout, you make a couple of saves, you can win a game,” said Elliott, who made his first start in five games. “It’s just one of those games where you try not to let the nerves get to you. You just want to get out there, feel the puck and move on from there.”
The Wild will need to add pressure to their offensive game if they want to nail down precious points going forward but they will take the point salvaged Sunday night.http://
“It wasn’t like we were that bad,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said. “We were competing, we had a couple shifts in the offensive zone. I think they thought they were going to take it to us physically. I think our guys responded to that. Our guys started being physical with their defensemen, and we really started to get to our game.”
(Home Team in Caps)
NY RANGERS 3, Detroit 0
Boston 5, FLORIDA 2
Chicago 2, BUFFALO 1
Los Angeles 4, EDMONTON 2
St Louis 3, MINNESOTA 2 (SO)
BLUES TAKE OVER TOP SPOT
T.J. Oshie continued his shootout magic with his fourth game-deciding goal of the season as the St. Louis Blues (94 points) won their fifth straight game to leapfrog the idle Anaheim Ducks (93 points) and move into the League’s top spot with a 3-2 decision over the Minnesota Wild. The victory marked the 19th straight divisional match-up in which the Blues recorded at least one point (18-0-1), matching a club record set during the 1968-69 campaign.
* Oshie has scored a League-leading eight shootout goals this season and has tallied 13 career deciding goals, two behind Sidney Crosby for the all-time lead.
* St. Louis improved to 7-0-0 in its past seven contests versus Minnesota, with its last loss coming Nov. 19, 2011.
* The win moved Blues coach Ken Hitchcock into sole possession of seventh on the League’s all-time wins list (649).
KING HENRIK STYMIES RED WINGS…AGAIN
Henrik Lundqvist made 30 saves to tie one franchise record and move to within a victory of matching another as the New York Rangers defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-0.
* Lundqvist recorded his 49th career shutout equaling the club record set by Eddie Giacomin. He earned his 300th career win, one away from Mike Richter’s record 301 victories in a Rangers’ uniform.
* New York’s win was their second consecutive shutout of Detroit and gives them a sweep of the season-series (3-0-0). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Rangers last shut out the Red Wings in consecutive meetings on Dec. 26, 1951 and Jan. 2, 1952. New York has not allowed a goal versus Detroit in 144:58.
* Derek Stepan (0-2—2) extended his assist/point streak to six games (1-8—9).
* Ryan McDonagh (0-2—2) extended his point streak to four games (3-2—5).
STREAKING BRUINS STAY HOT IN FLORIDA
Patrice Bergeron (1-2–3) earned points on Boston’s first three goals, including scoring the eventual winning goal, as the Bruins extended their winning streak to a season-high five games with a 5-2 decision in Florida. Boston (89 points) has posted an 8-1-2 record in its past 11 games and moved into sole possession of first in the Eastern Conference, passing the idle Penguins (88 points).
* Jarome Iginla scored his 20th goal, the 15th time in his career he has reached that milestone.
Iginla’s goal was the 550th of his career, moving past Ron Francis into 26th on the League’s all-time list. He ranks third in goals among active skaters, behind only Jaromir Jagr (701) and Teemu Selanne (682).
* Boston improved to 7-0-3 in its past 10 road games, the team’s longest point streak away from TD Garden since a 6-0-5 stretch from Jan. 20 to Feb. 24, 2004. The franchise record for consecutive road games with at least a point is 15, established during a 9-0-6 run in 1940-41.
* Newly acquired defenseman Andrej Meszaros tallied in his Boston debut.
* Torey Krug scored his 13th goal, tying Bobby Orr’s rookie total in 1966-67. Ray Bourque scored 17 goals in 1979-80 and that stands as the franchise record for most goals by a first year defenseman.
KINGS MAKE IT SEVEN STRAIGHT
Jeff Carter scored his team-leading 23rd and 24th goals of the season and added an assist as the Kings peppered their former netminder Ben Scrivens with 50 shots en route to their seventh consecutive victory. The seven-game winning streak is the club’s longest since a franchise record nine game stretch from Jan. 21 to Feb. 6, 2010.
* The Kings have outscored their opponents 22-10 on their current seven-game stretch after being outscored 19-6 in their previous seven contests.
* Los Angeles has won nine of its past 11 games in Edmonton (9-0-2) and has a 14-1-4 record in their last 19 meetings overall against the Oilers, dating to Apr. 7, 2009.
* Alec Martinez scored his career-high seventh goal to extend his point streak to four games (3-1—4)
KANE AND TOEWS LEAD THE BLACKHAWKS
Patrick Kane scored 3:12 after the opening face-off and Jonathan Toews broke a 1-1 tie at 1:34 of the third as the Blackhawks skated to a 2-1 win over the Sabres. Kane visited Buffalo for the first time since Oct. 11, 2010 and now has a point in each of his four games in his hometown (3-1–4). Toews’ goal gives him 6-1–7 in his past four games and marked his fourth winning goal this season.
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this was the first time in Chicago’s last 40 games that Kane and Toews both scored goals, after both players tallied in six of the Blackhawks’ first 25 games.
* The Blackhawks won their fifth straight game against the Sabres, with their last loss coming on Dec. 11, 2009. Chicago’s winning streak against Buffalo is its longest since winning the first five meetings between the clubs from Oct. 25, 1970 to Feb. 17, 1971.
Jimmy Hayes scored two goals, posting his first career multi-goal game. . .Dominic Moore recorded his 200th NHL point with an assist on New York’s opening goal. . . Matt Moulson scored his first goal as a member of the Wild, it’s the third different team he has scored a goal for this season (Sabres, Islanders, Wild). . .Ilya Bryzgalov made 20 saves in his debut for Minnesota. . . Cory Conacher tallied an assist in his Sabres debut after being claimed off waivers by the club on Mar. 5. . . Sam Gagner (1-5–6) and Taylor Hall (2-3–5) each tallied 1-1–2 for the Oilers, extending their point streaks to four and three games, respectively. . .Carlo Colaiacovo scored his first goal since February 11, 2012. . . Defenseman David Rundblad made his Blackhawks debut.
SNEAK PEEK AT MONDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Pittsburgh @ Washington, 7:00 p.m., NHLN-US, ROOT, CSN-DC
Nashville @ Ottawa, 7:30 p.m., RDS, TSN, FS-TN
Phoenix @ Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m., FS-A, SUN
Columbus @ Dallas, 8:30 p.m., FS-O, FS-SW
Winnipeg @ Colorado, 9:00 p.m., TSN-JETS, ALT
Los Angeles @ Calgary, 9:00 p.m., FS-W, SNET-W
NY Islanders @ Vancouver, 10:00 p.m., MSG PLUS, SNET-P
Toronto @ Anaheim, 10:00 p.m., LEAFS TV, KDOC
CROSBY VS OVECHKIN ON NHLN-US
The Washington Capitals (30-25-10—70 pts) host the Pittsburgh Penguins (42-17-4—90 pts) in the first game of a back-to-back, home-and-home set. Alex Ovechkin has earned 41 points (23-18–41) in 33 regular-season games against the Penguins. Sidney Crosby enters tonight leading the NHL with 84 points – 14 more than the players tied for second place. Seven of the last 10 games between the teams have been decided by one goal.
RED HOT SEGUIN IN ACTION AS STARS HOST BLUE JACKETS
The Columbus Blue Jackets (33-26-5—71 pts) will have to contend with the league’s hottest player as they visit the Dallas Stars (31-23-10—72 pts). Tyler Seguin (4-4—8), has eight points in his last two games. He is currently ranked third in the NHL with 36 points (16-20–36) at home. Acquired on trade deadline day, Tim Thomas, is expected to make his first start for the Stars. The Blue Jackets are 15-6-1 in their last 22 games