Make it eight shutouts for Henrik Lundqvist
The New York Rangers
goaltender only faced 13 shots, but he stopped them all and made Carl Hagelin
's first-period tally stand up as the Blueshirts earned a 2-0 victory against the New Jersey Devils
at Madison Square Garden on Monday night.
After a relatively quiet NHL trade deadline day for both teams, the Eastern Conference-leading Rangers stretched their advantage to nine points over Boston and Pittsburgh. They also snapped the Devils' road winning streak at seven games.
Hagelin gave the Rangers a 1-0 edge with 3:01 left in the first period. Ryan Callahan
added an empty-netter with 1:06 left, his career-best 25th goal -- with an assist from Hagelin -- to make it 2-0.
"I think our line has been good the last five or six games," Hagelin said. "We've been playing consistently now with each other. It makes it easier. We know where we're going to be, and Richie (Brad Richards
) has been on me a lot about things I need to work on and things I need to do. It's important for me to have a veteran like him telling me and leading the way."
Lundqvist, who entered with the League's lowest goals-against average in February, dropped it even further by making 13 saves for his NHL-best eighth shutout of the season and the 43rd of his career. Lundqvist made a lunging glove snare with 2:26 left to rob Ilya Kovalchuk
and secure his 30th win for a seventh straight season.
It was the fewest shots allowed by the Rangers this season.
"I remember my first year, it was a big deal to reach 30 wins, and now it's the seventh straight year to reach it … obviously, it means a lot to me," Lundqvist said. "It means that things have been going well, but it also means that I play for a club that's given me the opportunity to play a lot. I have a pretty good team in front of me, as well. But I'm happy that I reached it again, and you always want to improve from each year. You want to get better. So far this year, it's been a good ride."
wasn't tested much, either, in a game played with an edge on both sides. He finished with 13 saves for New Jersey, which lost on the road for the first time since Jan. 10 at Calgary. The Devils' road run was the longest in the NHL this season, but they have dropped three in a row overall following a four-game winning streak.
New Jersey had won two of the three previous meetings this season, including a 1-0 victory in New York on Feb. 7.
Devils forward David Clarkson
spent most of the night in the penalty box, serving 19 minutes -- including a misconduct and a fighting major with Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky
. Clarkson said he didn't know why he was given the misconduct.
"No idea," said Clarkson. "Dubinsky went after (Kovalchuk), and I went out and said something."
Clarkson dropped the gloves with Dubinsky in the second period, after he left his feet to hit Dubinsky against the boards.
"I knew it was coming," Dubinsky said. "It was just a matter of time before somebody was going to fight him. He seems to always turn away the tougher guys -- not taking anything away from myself -- and go after other guys. It's just the way he is."
Despite being held to only four shots in the first period and none until more than seven minutes had elapsed, the Rangers grabbed the lead on rookie Hagelin's 11th goal. After the Devils failed to get the puck out of their zone, New York defenseman Dan Girardi
sent it behind the net. Callahan shoveled a quick, short pass in front to Hagelin, who slammed a shot in at the left post.
It was a particularly physical period, with Rangers forward Ruslan Fedotenko
skating off gingerly after being hit by an errant stick in a scrum along the boards. New Jersey's Eric Boulton
shoved Rangers leading scorer Marian Gaborik
before the faceoff following Hagelin's goal, but nothing more arose from the altercation.
The Devils, who also had four shots in the period, had the only power play in the first. Brodeur was also caught wandering out of his net a few times, but managed to get back into position before the Rangers could catch him. Lundqvist made the best stop of the period when he blocked Clarkson's backhanded try at the doorstep with just under eight minutes left, during New Jersey's power play.
"We have to keep going the same way," Brodeur said. "We're doing a lot of good things. It's just not going our way right now. When we were winning, we played games we didn't deserve to win. We just have to work hard."
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.