Lundqvist made 24 saves to easily outplay Dominik Hasek, and Jaromir Jagr had a goal and two assists in New York's 5-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night.
"They scored two lucky goals, but overall I think they were a lot better team," Hasek said. "The huge difference is the goaltender. Lundqvist is probably the hottest goalie in the NHL right now."
Jagr's 36th goal gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead in the second period and moved him into a tie with Mike Bossy for 16th place on the NHL's career list with 573. With his three points, Jagr passed Luc Robitaille and Brett Hull for 18th place with 1,392.
Marek Malik and Jason Ward also scored in the middle frame as New York, the top team in the Atlantic Division, snapped a four-game losing streak to Northeast Division-leading Ottawa. Michael Nylander and Petr Sykora added goals in the third period for the Rangers, who delivered one of their best performances in an unexpectedly successful season. They have won four straight and five of six.
"I hope we're developing a reputation as a team that's tough to beat, whether at home or on the road," New York coach Tom Renney said. "I hope that we're being identified as a team that plays a responsible game without the puck, that we are solid from the goaltender out."
Chris Kelly scored with 2:04 left in the second period to bring Ottawa to 3-1.
But Lundqvist won the matchup of Olympic goalies, topping the Czech Republic's Hasek, who entered in a tie for the NHL's best goals-against average. Lundqvist of Sweden came in with the third-lowest GAA. He improved to 24-7-6.
"He made some huge saves at key times," Ottawa's Bryan Smolinski said. "We couldn't finish and we couldn't raise our level. We knew they were going to play well. We did the same thing to them in Ottawa."
Hasek (27-9-4) stopped 18 shots.
After a scoreless first period, New York had three goals on its first four second-period shots. Jagr started things during the Rangers' 5-on-3 power play just 49 seconds in. The NHL's scoring leader, with 83 points, one-timed a pass from Martin Rucinsky in the slot and beat Hasek high to the glove side.
New York made it 2-0 at 6:19 on an unassisted goal by Malik, who intercepted a clearing pass at the right point. Malik scored his second goal of the season when his shot deflected off the skate of an Ottawa player.
The lead grew to three goals on Ward's short-handed goal at 14:06. Ville Nieminen led a 3-on-none break up the right wing boards and sent a backhanded drop pass from the right circle to Ward in the slot. Ward's wrist shot beat Hasek to the stick side for his ninth goal.
"I got a nice pass from Nieminen on the penalty kill," Ward said. "Our special teams were working tonight, and that was a big key."
Nylander made it 4-1 with his 14th goal at 7:56 of the third period. He finished a textbook, tic-tac-toe play that started with Jagr's cross-ice pass to Martin Straka, who slid the puck across the goal mouth for Nylander to redirect in.
"It just comes down to positioning and really hard work, and I think the guys did that for most of the game tonight," Rangers center Steve Rucchin said. "They did a good job killing the penalty tonight, which can be a tough situation to deal with."
Jagr also assisted on Sykora's 13th goal with 6:09 left. Sykora banked a shot in off an Ottawa player from behind the Senators' net.
"They worked hard, they pressured us every time we got the puck," Senators coach Bryan Murray said. "We were real slow moving the puck out of our end."
Notes: Rucinsky and Sykora were shaken up when they collided early in the game. Both returned before the end of the first period. ... The Rangers hadn't beaten Ottawa since Nov. 23, 2003. ... Actor Liam Neeson and Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows were in attendance. ... The Rangers held a pregame tribute to Dennis "Chief" Ryan, the team's longtime security representative who died on Monday.
|PPG - Jaromir Jagr (36) ASST: Martin Rucinsky (29), Steve Rucchin (13)|
1 - 0 NYR
|Marek Malik (2) ASST: NONE|
2 - 0 NYR
|SHG - Jason Ward (9) ASST: Ville Nieminen (12), Fedor Tyutin (15)|
3 - 0 NYR
|Chris Kelly (5) ASST: Bryan Smolinski (23), Vaclav Varada (12)|
3 - 1 NYR
|Michael Nylander (14) ASST: Martin Straka (46), Jaromir Jagr (46)|
4 - 1 NYR
|Petr Sykora (13) ASST: Martin Straka (47), Jaromir Jagr (47)|
5 - 1 NYR
|Michal Rozsival Hooking against Patrick Eaves|
|Darius Kasparaitis Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Tom Poti Hi-sticking against Peter Schaefer|
|Daniel Alfredsson Interference against Jaromir Jagr|
|Zdeno Chara Hooking against Michael Nylander|
|Fedor Tyutin Holding against Patrick Eaves|
|Antoine Vermette Hi-sticking against Darius Kasparaitis|
|Petr Sykora Hooking against Chris Phillips|
|Steve Rucchin Holding the stick|
|Jason Strudwick Holding|
|Anton Volchenkov Hooking against Martin Rucinsky|
|Ville Nieminen Tripping against Anton Volchenkov|
|Jason Strudwick Slashing against Dany Heatley|
|Dany Heatley Cross checking against Jason Strudwick|
|Dominic Moore Roughing against Wade Redden|
|Wade Redden Roughing against Dominic Moore|
|Wade Redden Roughing against Dominic Moore|
|Chris Kelly Hooking against Petr Sykora|