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Lundqvist solid again as Rangers beat Bruins, 3-1

Boston Bruins' Marco Sturm (16) is unable to

Boston Bruins' Marco Sturm (16) is unable to capitalize on a penalty shot as New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) makes the save. (Jan. 9, 2010) Credit: AP

BOSTON - The last two times Henrik Lundqvist had played in Boston, he allowed only one goal and lost anyway.

That was last season. Yesterday, he again gave up one goal in Boston - but this time the Rangers gave him some offensive help. Brandon Dubinsky had a goal and two assists as the Rangers won, 3-1, beating the Bruins for the third time in three tries this season.

The Rangers, 8-1-3 in their last 12, have emerged from a pack of mediocre teams in their conference and currently sit in sixth place in the East with 50 points, only one point behind the fifth-place Bruins.

"We're playing well right now, and the best part of our game is how we're playing defensively," Dubinsky said. "We knew they were going to be clogging the middle and waiting for us to turn the puck over, and we took care of the puck. A couple of guys are starting to score, and Hank is Hank. The combination of those things is what's putting us in position to win every night."

Lundqvist, who hadn't practiced in three days, was fresh and sharp. Handed a 1-0 lead on Michael Del Zotto's goal in the first period, he stopped Marco Sturm with his stick and right pad after the Bruins forward was awarded a penalty shot at 14:50 of the first.

"It was a dive," Rangers coach John Tortorella said of the call on Ales Kotalik during a power play. "Maybe a penalty could be called on us, but it's a big play, it gets the bench going again."

Lundqvist, who has stopped four of seven penalty shots in his career, made 11 of his 29 saves in the first period, including big saves against Johnny Boychuk and Blake Wheeler's deflection in the last 1:30.

"I was a little bit concerned how I would feel in the first period, but I made a couple good saves and felt OK," said Lundqvist, who was beaten 1-0 twice in Boston a season ago.

Only Dennis Wideman's first goal in 17 games, a long shot through a screen that beat Lundqvist stick side with 3:43 left, thwarted his bid for his second shutout against the Bruins this season.

"In our own end, we're playing confident right now, and we know we can take a penalty without paying the price for it," Lundqvist said. "It starts with the battle level. You have to have the urgency and battle level, and Torts made a smart move by having us practice less."

The Rangers had 21 shots on goal against Tim Thomas in the second period, and Dubinsky extended the lead to 2-0 with his eighth goal, putting in his own rebound at the top of the crease at 10:16. Dubinsky is 4-5-9 in his last seven games. And the fellow who replaced him at center, Erik Christensen, who also had an assist, scored his third goal in six games at 37 seconds of the third to make it 3-0.

"I think it takes away some of the thinking when he's on the wing," Tortorella said of Dubinsky. "It needs to be an instinctive game, and I think that's really helped him. It really doesn't matter what position you're at; if you're playing as hard as he is right now, good things are going to happen."

After Christensen's goal, the Rangers killed two power plays to extend their streak to 17 successful kills and 30 of the last 32.

Right now, everything is clicking.

New York Sports