The Rangers coughed up one-goal leads twice in the third period Thursday night against the Los Angeles Kings.
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But Lundqvist and the Rangers persevered - even though a power play in overtime was short-circuited by Brandon Dubinsky's penalty - and beat the Kings, 4-3, in a shootout.
After shootout goals by Erik Christensen and Mats Zuccarello against Jonathan Bernier, Lundqvist - who had stopped Michal Handzus with a blocker save - needed to stop Anze Kopitar for the two points and the 200th victory of his career. After Lundqvist refused to go for Kopitar's fake, a hard wrister went off Lundqvist's left shoulder as he fell backward into the crease, and the Garden crowd erupted.
"He came up big. It was a tough spot for him because how the [third] goal goes in," coach John Tortorella said. "It's one of those fluky goals and he's had a number of those of late. Tonight was good for him as far as getting the opportunity to make the big save to win a hockey game."
It was a wild finish.
As time expired in regulation, Marc Staal was felled by Alexei Ponikarovsky's high stick, giving the Rangers a four-on-three for four minutes. But Dubinsky's stick caught Willie Mitchell high at 1:48 of overtime, negating the man advantage. It became a three-on-three and eventually a four-on-four before the shootout.
Ryan Callahan, who swatted Derek Stepan's shot past Bernier at 4:01 of the second to tie it at 1, played a huge role on the penalty-kill throughout the game. Callahan starred on an earlier Dubinsky penalty, blocking two shots, one without his stick, and throwing several checks. "He bailed out some people, namely his buddy Dubinsky, who took some stupid penalties," Tortorella said.
In the third, Marian Gaborik made a long-awaited contribution, scoring his first goal in eight games on a fluttering shot from the top of the right circle at 6:10 to provide a 2-1 lead. But the Kings tied the score when Matt Greene's long shot hit Brian Boyle's stick, changed direction and went through Lundqvist's pads at 7:50.
Lundqvist started his third game after struggling and sitting out while Martin Biron played two games. No. 200 was special. "I just hope I get the opportunity to stay here and get another 200," he said.
Tortorella was pleased by the resiliency of his team, which moved six points above the playoff line.
"I just think we've got some --; we've been that way all year long," he said. "Are we playing our best hockey now? No. Did we make some mistakes? Yes. But we've got -- and I hope that keeps transforming that we find ways to win games in the grind that's going to come up here. I just like the mental makeup of our team."