Lundqvist Rewarded With Strong Defense, Scoring In Shutout Win

The previous two games for the New York Rangers featured brilliant goaltending by Henrik Lundqvist, but the rest of the team was unable to provide further help, dropping a pair after winning six in a row.

Finally, Lundqvist got some help on Sunday night.

The longtime Rangers goaltender faced only 20 shots thanks to a stout defensive effort, while diverse scoring led to a 3-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators at Madison Square Garden. It’s the 63rd shutout of Lundqvist’s career, and second this season.

This was the first meeting between the Rangers and Senators since Ottawa took a six game set in the Eastern Conference semifinal playoff round last spring. The first period was scoreless, but the Rangers finally broke thought in the second, as Kevin Hayes put in his fifth goal of the season just under five minutes into the period.

Things truly became eventful in the third period, as the Rangers not only kept Ottawa off the scoresheet, but held the Senators to a mere five shots on goal. Controversy arose when Brendan Smith laid down a hard hit on Mark Borowiecki, as the Ottawa defenseman slammed into the side boards and was briefly knocked unconscious. Smith was assessed a game misconduct, while Ottawa was given a major five-minute power play. The Rangers, however, only allowed one shot on net, and extended their lead prior to the penalty when Michael Grabner tipped in a Marc Staal slap shot to make it 2-0.

The Rangers would conclude their scoring with an empty netter by Mika Zinbanejad, his 10th goal of the season.

Grabner continued his third period success, as seven of his nine goals have come in the final frame. Mats Zuccarello did his part with two assists.

With this win, the Rangers will look to embark on another winning streak against the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday night (7:00 PM, MSG).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490

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