The New York Rangers' two best players were the two best players on the ice on Sunday afternoon.
Marian Gaborik returned to the ice and scored the lone goal and Henrik Lundqvist made 29 saves for his 150th career win as the Blueshirts ended a two-game skid with a 1-0 victory against the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden.
"It was a fun game," Lundqvist said after recording his first shutout of the season and the 21st of his career. "This is what I was used to last year -- low-scoring and tight. I got a little spoiled this year. We have been scoring a lot. The feeling was one mistake could cost us big time. I like that feeling. I have to be on my toes all of the time."
Gaborik, who had missed the previous two games with a lower-body injury, broke the scoreless tie with 4:09 remaining in the second period when he one-timed Vinny Prospal's feed past Tim Thomas for his 11th goal of the season.
"Kind of halfway through warm-ups I knew I was good enough to play," said Gaborik, who was a game-time decision. "Obviously I am not where I want to be, but I tried to help the team. It was a huge team effort out there, and it started with Hank, just a great job by him."
Thomas, who did not play in Saturday's 2-0 win against Edmonton, finished with 22 saves. He kept his team in the game early and often, including a tremendous pad save on Brandon Dubinsky's one-timer in the first period.
''Lundqvist was solid, but their team D was pretty good,'' Thomas said. ''Both teams' D was good. Can you think of an odd-man rush for either team? You'd like to win them all, but we're headed in the right direction. Even if every game we're not getting the results.''
Boston coach Claude Julien believes such games will continue until the Bruins break through offensively.
'We played hard,'' Julien said. ''We did everything, except right now we're just not scoring goals. Until that happens, we're going to be dealing with these types of games. It becomes frustrating for everybody.''
"This is what I was used to last year -- low-scoring and tight. I got a little spoiled this year. We have been scoring a lot. The feeling was one mistake could cost us big time. I like that feeling. I have to be on my toes all of the time."
-- Henrik Lundqvist
Lundqvist's biggest save of the day came in the final minute. With Thomas on the bench for an extra attacker, Lundqvist preserved the one-goal lead with a gorgeous save on Mark Recchi's point-blank chance.
"The key there is to be patient," Lundqvist said. "If you go down too early, they will roof it. I didn't see (Recchi) at first, so I was late, and he tried to go five-hole, and I just stopped it."
It certainly was no surprise to Lundqvist's teammates.
"Obviously, Hank was great for us in net," Prospal said of Lundqvist. "He made some huge saves throughout the whole hockey game. We were able to score the goal and it proved to be the winner. They are a really good hockey team. They have everything that a hockey team needs. They have the playmakers. They have the goal scorers and they have a great goalie as well."
The Rangers -- who were 1-4-1 before Sunday's win -- hope the momentum will follow them west, where they begin a three-game road trip in Vancouver on Tuesday night.
"That is a tough team to play against – the way they play, how strong defensively they are, how they play in the neutral zone. It needed to be a patient, grinding-type game," New York coach John Tortorella said. "I think if you open yourself up, that is when they counter and that is when they become successful. I thought our decision making was good. I thought our grinding was better. We found a way to score a goal and found a way to win."
-- Brian Compton, NHL.com
1 - 0 NYR
Interference - Goalkeeper
Holding the stick