It took every ounce of energy from every guy in blue for the Rangers to clinch their biggest win of the young season at Madison Square Garden.
Playing their fourth game in six nights and hanging on to a 3-2 lead over the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, Henrik Lundqvist stoned Tomas Kopecky from 10 feet away with 1:15 left in regulation. Then with six attackers against four in the final 22 seconds, Brandon Dubinsky, who had scored twice, dove head first to clear the puck past Duncan Keith to preserve the victory.
For the second consecutive game, the Rangers (6-4-1) blocked shots with passion and Lundqvist---who had a slipup that allowed Patrick Kane to tie the game at 2 with a shot off the inside of his left pad at 6:08 of the third period---finished with 33 saves.
“I cheated too much (on the second goal),” said Lundqvist, now 4-1-0 in his last five starts, “but we responded right away.”
The winning goal, just 28 seconds later, was illustrative of the way the Rangers worked in the final 20 minutes.
Brandon Prust, who a shift earlier had taken an elbow in the face from Niklas Hjalmarsson, grabbed a chip in near the right boards above the goal line and slipped it across to Erik Christensen, who cut right to left in the slot around a sliding Brian Campbell and whipped a high wrister back above Turco's glove to restore the lead to 3-2. It was the center’s first goal in nine games.
“It was the kind of break I needed,” said Christensen. “You could kind of feel the air sucked out of the building (when Kane scored),” said Christensen. “I was if the fans were thinking, ‘oh, no, another loss at home.’ Frolov and Prust had been getting me the puck all night and this time, I gave a little deke and shot to the post the goalie was leaving.”
Dubinsky, who had scored at 19:39 of the first to square the game at 1 and then at 55 seconds of the third on the power play, his team-leading seventh of the season, praised Christensen. “For him to come back and bury one right away, it felt like we didn’t miss a beat,” he said.”
The Rangers were missing Ryan Callahan at the top of the third, who had limped off late in the second session after a Keith blast buckled his right ankle. Sean Avery drew a hooking call and the Rangers opened the third with 1:39 in power play time, the Rangers capitalized.
Callahan, stitched up, immediately had an impact. Artem Anisimov dug the puck from behind the net to Callahan, who recorded an assist on Dubinsky’s first goal, at the lower part of the right circle, and without hesitating, passed to Dubinsky, who cashed in.
“With Artie and Cally, we have enough skill on that line, if we give enough effort and energy, we are going to get enough opportunities,” said Dubinsky of the line that had six points on the evening. “It seems right now we’re clicking,” said Callahan, who has a seven-game point streak, the longest of his career.