TORONTO — For the second consecutive game, Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers went to a shootout. This time they came away with two points instead of only one.
An incredible goaltending duel at Air Canada Center, including a tense overtime, ended with Lundqvist outlasting Frederik Andersen and denying two of three Maple Leafs in a three-round shootout on Thursday night. Snakebit Mika Zibanejad scored the game-winner after Mats Zuccarello opened with his second shootout tally in as many games.
The saves and goals created a 2-1 win — the Rangers’ 20th victory on the road — in a game they trailed 1-0 in the third period. J.T. Miller tied it, crashing the crease and jamming home a loose puck at 10:50, two seconds after a power play ended.
“We had enough chances to score and win the game,” said Lundqvist, who made 32 saves before the shootout. “For me it was about keeping the score one-nothing just to give us a chance, and you just hope sooner or later it’s going to pay off. You try not to be emotional throughout the game, with all the highs and lows.”
Zibanejad, who was denied by Montreal’s Carey Price in the shootout in the Rangers’ 3-2 loss on Tuesday night, saw the finish as a personal turnaround.
“It doesn’t matter how many goals you’re scoring if you don’t win,” said Zibanejad, who is rounding into form after missing 25 games with a broken left leg. “For me, being able to get out there again helps. Just seeing that puck go across the line was a relieving feeling.”Before the shootout, more than 19,000 fans were treated to a fast-paced three-on-three overtime. In the first two minutes, the Rangers had four shots on Andersen. At the other end, Lundqvist stymied Leo Komarov and Zach Hyman on breakaways in the final 30 seconds.
“I thought for sure it was going to end at some point, whether it was for us or them, because the odds were against these goalies,” Ryan McDonagh said.
It wouldn’t have gotten that far without Miller’s 19th goal. It was crucial if not pretty, his third in three games against the Leafs this season.
“That’s normally how it works when goalies are standing on their heads,” he said. “You need a tic-tac-toe to go in. I thought we did a good job of getting guys to the paint and Hank made some unbelievable saves in overtime.”
Although the Rangers didn’t score on two power plays with Brandon Pirri inserted for a spark, the penalty-killers proved their worth, shutting down the NHL’s No. 1 power play three times.
The Rangers had numerous chances in the first turned away by Andersen. He gloved Rick Nash’s close-up backhander and stopped bang-bang attempts by Zuccarello and Chris Kreider.
Connor Brown scored his 15th on a rebound at 10:56 for a 1-0 Toronto lead.
Andersen made it stand up for most of the game. With Kreider in the box, he robbed Michael Grabner on a shorthanded two-on-one and the fans chanted “Ann-dy, Ann-dy.”
But in the end, it was the determined Lundqvist who skated off with a gritty win.