Henrik Lundqvist sets Rangers record with 50th shutout in win over Devils
NEWARK, N.J. -- After a draining win in Columbus on Friday night, the Rangers finally beat the Devils indoors this season. A strong defensive effort, goals by Rick Nash and Derek Stepan, and Henrik Lundqvist's franchise-record 50th regular-season shutout produced a 2-0 victory Saturday night at the Prudential Center.
Nash, who played a passionate, driven game but didn't score in the Rangers' 3-1 victory during his homecoming in Ohio on Friday, gave the Rangers a big goal in the second period Saturday night. Stepan, who assisted on Nash's game-winner, iced the victory with an empty-netter with 7.8 seconds left.
The Devils had won three of four against the Rangers this season, with the only loss outdoors at Yankee Stadium.
With his fifth shutout of the season, Lundqvist passed Eddie Giacomin and earned his 28th victory of the season. He made 21 saves, and two of them in the first period -- stretching out his right pad on Jaromir Jagr's breakaway and denying Travis Zajac alone in the slot -- set the tone.
Lundqvist, who had passed Mike Richter for career wins in an 8-4 victory over Ottawa, was pleased to set both records in the same week "so I don't have to talk about it anymore," but he cited the need to move forward in the final 10 games of the season.
It was the fourth straight road victory for the Rangers (39-29-4) -- who lead the league in road wins with 23 -- and gave them 82 points. But they didn't gain any ground on the Flyers, who are in second place in the Metro Division with 83 points, have won five straight and have two games in hand.
"We're still in a position where we're fighting for our lives," said Lundqvist, whose parents flew in from Sweden to see the game. "We just have to keep pushing ourselves and have the mind-set that every point could be the difference right now. It's going to be until the last game. We have to approach every game like a must-win."
After a scoreless first period, the Rangers had a flurry of chances in the second. Chris Kreider missed wide on a rush and Martin Brodeur stopped Mats Zuccarello in the slot on an odd-man rush.
Then the Rangers broke through. Stepan's wide pass curled around to the left side, where Nash shot high with Brodeur down after Kreider bumped him cutting across the crease. The goal, at 10:33, was his 23rd of the season.
The Devils almost tied the score early in the third on a wraparound by Andy Greene, but Lundqvist got a piece of the puck with his left skate.
The last opportunity for the Devils came with 38.9 seconds to go. Lundqvist was on his back on the goal line, but the puck was under his pad in the crease, as a video review confirmed.
"It was definitely a grinding-type game," coach Alain Vigneault said. "Our blue line was very good.''
It was Lundqvist's third game in four nights, but Vigneault appears content to ride the hot hand next week. "Hank's the guy. Points are hard to come by," Vigneault said before the game. "Cam [Talbot] has played real well for us, but everybody's winning right now. If we're going to get in, it's because Hank plays like he has."