Henrik Lundqvist superb as New York Rangers blank Detroit Red Wings

By Bob Duff, The Sports Xchange
New York Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist lands on the ice after Buffalo Sabres Evander Kane scores a goal in the first period at Madison Square Garden in New York City on January 3, 2017. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
1 of 3 | New York Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist lands on the ice after Buffalo Sabres Evander Kane scores a goal in the first period at Madison Square Garden in New York City on January 3, 2017. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

DETROIT -- The New York Rangers are scoring goals in bunches this season, but on the nights when they aren't frequently lighting the lamp at the other end, they feel confident in the knowledge that Henrik Lundqvist is still guarding their goal.

Lundqvist reached the 20-win plateau for an NHL-record 12th straight season, making 21 saves for his second shutout of the year as the Rangers blanked the Detroit Red Wings 1-0 on Sunday afternoon.


"I'm very proud of that," Lundqvist said. "I've been lucky enough to play for this organization for 12 years and they've given me an opportunity to play a lot.

"I'm grateful for that, and hopefully we can continue growing that number."

J.T. Miller converted Mats Zuccarello's feed on a two-on-none breakaway at 1:56 of overtime for his 15th goal of the season and the only tally of the game, as the Rangers won their NHL-leading 17th road game.


The Rangers are second in the NHL with 164 goals scored and had tallied at least four goals in nine of their previous 11 games. But when Sunday's game developed into a defensive struggle, Lundqvist had all the answers.

"Neither team was generating a lot of offensive chances," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "The quality of the ice today was just horrendous, and when you can't put two passes together, it is hard to demonstrate any skill.

"A win is a win. Hank has gone through some challenging times, but he worked at it and now he's back to where we need him. That was a big shutout for us."

Lundqvist won two straight since a personal three-game losing streak but the Red Wings proved the perfect elixir for what has ailed him. Lundqvist is 6-1-1 with four shutouts in his last eight games against Detroit.

"I know a lot of the guys on the other side from playing a lot of games with them on the (Swedish) national team, so obviously, you don't want to give them anything for free," Lundqvist said.

He felt it was a team change as much as personal improvement that has led to his last two wins.


"It's nice to get two games where sure I've changed my mindset a little bit but I think the biggest change was just the way we play in front of me," Lundqvist said. "It felt good to have the structure in front of you. It wasn't a pretty game. It was a game about finding a way to win.

"With the structure and not giving up the big chances in front, it makes a big difference for me."

Detroit lost in overtime for the second straight game but the Wings extended their point streak to five games (3-0-2).

"We're getting a little more results in terms of points but we've still got to take that next step and play at a level to find ways to more two points and not just one," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said.

Detroit rookie goalie Jared Coreau, who made 18 saves, extended his personal point streak to seven games (5-0-1).

"Defensively we were sound again," Coreau said. "We made some huge blocks, we cleared the puck well, we had crisp passes on breakouts. We played a good game, they played a good game.

"It was going to come down to that one goal or maybe a shootout."


Red Wings left winger Thomas Vanek, who leads the team with 12 goals, left the ice at the end of the first period favoring his left leg and did not return. Vanek went down during a net-front scramble in the waning seconds of the period and struggled to get back up to his feet. The Wings listed his ailment as a lower-body injury.

"I don't think it's anything long, long term but I'll know his availability tomorrow," Blashill said. "He's one of our real dynamic offensive guys, so you lose a bit of punch."

NOTES: Detroit activated D Niklas Kronwall from injured reserve. Kronwall had missed eight games with a groin issue. The Wings placed veteran F Drew Miller on waivers to open up a roster spot for Kronwall. ... The next power-play point for Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg will give him 310, surpassing Sergei Fedorov for fourth on the team's all-time list. ... Red Wings healthy scratches were D Alexey Marchenko, D Ryan Sproul and F Tomas Jurco. ... F Steve Ott (shoulder), G Jimmy Howard (knee) and D Brendan Smith (knee) are on injured reserve. ... Rangers scratches were D Marc Staal (upper-body injury) and F Matt Puempel (healthy) and F Jesper Fast (upper-body injury). ... G Antti Raanta (lower body) is on IR.


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