Lundqvist shuts out Predators, Rangers win 3-0
NEW YORK—Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves for his fourth shutout of the season, and the New York Rangers stayed atop the NHL standings with a 3-0 victory over Nashville that stopped the Predators' winning streak at five games on Tuesday night.
The Predators, who beat the New York Islanders 3-1 on Monday, have won eight of 10. The Rangers had lost two of three entering Tuesday's game following a five-game winning streak, and still haven't quite broken out of a scoring slump. New York has averaged about two goals in 12 games since Christmas.
John Mitchell scored midway through the second period and defenseman Dan Girardi had a goal in the first when what appeared to be a pass went off Nashville defenseman Jack Hillen and fluttered in behind backup goalie Anders Lindback, who was moving left to right across the crease.
Ryan Callahan was awarded a goal when he dived to try to knock the puck into the empty net in the final minute, and Martin Erat dived on top of him.
New York leads the NHL with 62 points.
Fans chanted "Hen-rik!" several times, none louder than just before the final minute, when Nashville had to take its timeout. Lundqvist didn't need to make another stop to finish off his 39th NHL shutout.
Mitchell has been getting more ice time lately. He also scored New York's goal in a 4-1 loss in Montreal on Sunday.
On Tuesday, he skated into the corner, drew defenseman Francis Bouillon with him, hit the brakes, popped back out, and was alone to fire a shot past Lindback's short side at 10:42 of the second. Lindback, the backup to Pekka Rinne, made 25 saves.
That came shortly after several minutes of end-to-end hockey. Immediately after the goal, Nashville turned up the pressure, and Lundqvist made three quick saves during a chaotic couple of minutes.
The Rangers missed an opportunity to add on when Martin Erat was sent off for running into Lundqvist near the end of the period. Just 17 seconds into the power play, Marian Gaborik was given four minutes for high-sticking.
NOTES: Nashville has been perfect on the penalty kill in 10 of 12 games. ... Rangers F Carl Hagelin was stuffed three times by Lindback in the first period. The last one, just before the period ended, came when the rookie couldn't get much on a pass and floated the puck harmlessly on net. ... Nashville lost in regulation at the Rangers for the third time in nine games. ... It was Mitchell's fourth goal of the season. He was recalled from Connecticut of the AHL on Nov. 24. ... The Rangers have scored first in 23 games.