Henrik Lundqvist shuts out Red Wings for 300th career win
Mike Richter. Eddie Giacomin. All the other Rangers whose jerseys hang from the rafters. Henrik Lundqvist gets it; he understands the legacy.
"The Rangers pay tribute to the older guys and the legends they have here, and every once in a while, you get to see them," Lundqvist said Sunday. "You constantly get reminded of what they did for this organization, which is great. So it's very special when you're up there with them."
Lundqvist took another step toward having his No. 30 retired someday by making 30 saves in the Rangers' 3-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday. It was his 49th career shutout, which tied Giacomin for the most in franchise history, and his 300th win, one behind Richter. With 17 games remaining in the regular season, the 32-year-old Swede undoubtedly will pass Richter -- and possibly Giacomin, too.
"It's a big deal for me to reach that," Lundqvist said after a second consecutive victory lifted the Rangers (35-26-4) into second place in the Metropolitan Division with 74 points, one ahead of the Flyers and three ahead of the fourth-place Blue Jackets.
"I didn't think about [the career numbers] going into the game, but after two periods [with the Rangers up 1-0], I wanted to reach it tonight. It was a great challenge, so you stay focused and push yourself a little more."
In his best game since returning from the Winter Olympics in Sochi with a silver medal earned while playing for Sweden, Lundqvist's best stops came on point-blank power-play shots by Todd Bertuzzi and Tomas Tatar in the second period while protecting the lead. He was saluted by fans with the familiar chants of "Hen-reek, Hen-reek" after each one.
Chris Kreider provided a cushion 14 seconds into the third period when he tipped Ryan McDonagh's long shot past Jimmy Howard. Kreider then added his 16th goal, scoring from the left circle at 12:11 on a pass from Derek Stepan. It was the second assist of the period for both Stepan and McDonagh.
As it turned out, the only goal that Lundqvist would need was scored only 5:14 into the matinee.
After John Moore broke his stick on a shot, Brian Boyle spun between the dots and slid the loose puck toward the net, and it went in off defenseman Brendan Smith's skate. It was Boyle's fifth goal of the season and first since Jan. 31 against the Islanders.
The Red Wings (29-22-13) remained at 71 points and are tied with Columbus for the final wild card in the East.
"It was important for us to beat this team. They're right behind us," Lundqvist said. "We approach every game like a must-win. All over the ice, we put a lot of pressure on them. I think in the first 10 minutes, they got a couple of odd-man rushes, but after that, we adjusted and played a lot better."
Lundqvist, who had allowed 13 goals in his first three starts after the Olympics, seemed more of his vintage self in the 4-2 win in Carolina on Friday, and he saved his best for Sunday.
"He's been the face of the franchise and will continue to be that," Brad Richards said. "He's only been in the league eight or nine years, and it seems like it's 30 or 40 wins each year. That's stability for the organization and a great accomplishment for him."