Two points are hard to come by in today’s NHL, especially in the wild situation that is the Metropolitan Division. The New York Rangers will take them any way they can get, including in a shootout against the league’s worst team.
Henrik Lundvist made 38 saves over the first 65 minutes, then kept the scoresheet blank in the shootout, as the Rangers earned a 2-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night. It’s the Rangers’ eighth consecutive win over Arizona, and they have swept the season set.
Despite a league-worst record, the Coyotes, coming off a win over the defending Western Conference champion Nashville Predators, played the Rangers well, outshooting them 39-25 and holding a 1-0 lead on them after the first period on a power play goal scored by ex-Ranger Anthony Duclair. Though the Rangers (22-14-5) struggled to keep pace, they were able to tie the score on a goal by Jimmy Vesey, his ninth of the season.
— NHL (@NHL) January 7, 2018
After an exciting third period, featuring a 12-11 advantage in Arizona shots, the Rangers took a penalty when Brady Skjei was caught slashing. The Rangers were able to hold off the rush by the Coyotes (10-27-6), and later finished regulation off with the score knotted at one.
In the shootout session, the Rangers would be without one of their top shootout men, Mats Zuccarello, who was forced out because of an illness. Facing off against former teammate Antti Raanta, Mika Zibanejad earned the deciding tally in the first round of the proceedings. Lundqvist squared off against two of his former teammates, Duclair and Derek Stepan, in the shootout, stopping the pair, who sandwiched Clayton Keller, to earn the 2-1 win. With the victory, the 424th of Lundqvist’s career, Lundqvist overtook sole possession of eighth place on the NHL’s all-time goalie wins leader’s list.
The Rangers will complete a weekend back-to-back on Sunday night, when they take on the Las Vegas Golden Knights (9:30 PM, MSG).
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490