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Henrik Lundqvist superb as Rangers beat Coyotes in shootout

Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist covers the puck in

Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist covers the puck in front of Coyotes center Brad Richardson in the second period on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. Credit: AP / Rick Scuteri

GLENDALE, Ariz. — In a superb effort, Henrik Lundqvist made 38 saves through overtime and then stopped all three shootout attempts to lead the Rangers to a 2-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night.

Mika Zibanejad scored the only goal of the shootout, beating former Ranger Antti Raanta on the Rangers’ first attempt.

Lundqvist stopped former Ranger Anthony Duclair with his left pad and Clayton Keller with his right pad before making the game-clinching save on former Ranger Derek Stepan’s slap shot. “The best thing for me is to be in the moment and not try to think what [they’re] going to do,’’ Lundqvist said. “I expected anything. I felt really good.’’

Said coach Alain Vig neault: “At the end of the day, Hank was the best player on the ice.’’

The Rangers, who have won nine straight against Arizona, are 22-14-5 for 49 points at the halfway mark of the season. They are 7-7-2 away from Madison Square Garden and will face the expansion Golden Knights in Las Vegas for the first time Sunday in their final game before their bye week.

After Duclair scored for the Coyotes in the first period and Jimmy Vesey tied it in the second, the teams exchanged chances early in the third period. With Raanta down, Coyotes defenseman Kevin Connauton got his stick down to deflect a loose puck, then swiped with his glove and banged the puck off the crossbar with about 4:30 gone. Lundqvist robbed Alex Goligoski from point-blank range when the Rangers allowed another great look against Lundqvist. Seconds later, he stretched out on the ice to deny a shot by Brad Richardson.

Vesey shot wide on a breakaway in overtime. Brady Skjei went off for slashing with 1:29 left in OT and Lundqvist came up big a few times to send the game to the shootout.

The Coyotes were prowling right after the puck dropped at Gila River Arena. On the first rush, Josh Archibald whistled the puck wide left of Lundqvist, and minutes later, Lundqvist slid to his right to deny Tobias Rieder in front with his pad.

Kevin Hayes had a break-in on Raanta, but with Jakob Chychrun harassing him from behind with his stick, he lost control of the puck on his backhand.

The Rangers tried stretch passes to no avail, while the Coyotes came in north-south waves. Raanta was in perfect position to absorb J.T. Miller’s wrister from the left circle with 11:37 left, and the Coyotes came close when Lundqvist blocked Luke Schenn’s wrister from the right point through a screen, then dived on it for a stoppage.

After more pressure, the Rangers’ Kevin Shattenkirk was penalized for dislodging the net after being pushed from behind at 10:43. Just seven seconds later, Duclair, from the left side, scored on a rebound of Stepan’s shot for a 1-0 lead.

In the last minute of the period, Marc Staal delivered a big hit to Nick Cousins. That seemed to jolt the Rangers awake, likely along with some raised voices in the locker room.

Said Lundqvist, “The team talked about how ‘it’s two games to go here, we need everything from everyone.’ We were not ready. We have to give ourselves a little credit, the way we responded. We felt a little beat up after the first.”

The Rangers were better in the second. Vesey stole the puck on the right wall, stickhandled in and beat Raanta high to the short side to tie it at 5:11.

Said Miller: “Hank gave us every chance to win. We understand the test we have [tonight in Las Vegas]. It could have been uglier tonight.”

New York Sports