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Lundqvist, Rangers shut out Hurricanes

by Colin Stephenson /

NEW YORK -- Henrik Lundqvist made 33 saves to give the New York Rangers a 3-0 win against the Carolina Hurricanes at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.

Lundqvist passed Mike Richter in career appearances and saves for the Rangers in his first shutout of the season.

"Every time you get compared to legends like that, it's a good feeling,'' Lundqvist said. "You realize you've been here for a while, you've been lucky to be part of a lot of good teams, and they've been giving me a chance to play a lot of games.''

Jesper Fast, Rick Nash and Ryan McDonagh scored for the Rangers (11-2-2), who won their sixth straight. It was their 16th win in their past 17 games against the Hurricanes.

The Rangers took command midway through the first period with goals 11 seconds apart by Fast and Nash.

With defenseman Keith Yandle winding up at the left point for a dump-in to the far corner, Fast circled from below the right circle and clipped the skate of Carolina defenseman Michal Jordan, who fell backward. Jordan got up quickly and was on his feet by the time Yandle's dump-in was coming back off the boards, but he couldn't stop Emerson Etem from getting to the puck and passing it to Fast, whose slap shot beat Cam Ward for his third goal of the season at 9:21.

Off the faceoff, the Rangers gained possession and Mats Zuccarello passed the puck ahead to Nash in the left circle. Nash, back in the lineup after missing the previous two games with a back injury, cut across to the middle of the slot and tucked a backhand around Ward for his second goal of the season at 9:32.

"You look at it as the game-winning goal, and then the insurance marker right there,'' Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. "Obviously, that was the ballgame, when you look back at it in hindsight.''

McDonagh made it 3-0 13 seconds into the third period when his left-point shot bounced off the skate of Carolina defenseman Ron Hainsey and went in.

Nash last scored Oct. 22 against the Arizona Coyotes. Last season, he had 11 goals in his first 13 games.

"It's no secret it's been a frustrating start,'' Nash said. "It was finally nice to get one … I think [Zuccarello] and [Derick Brassard] have been looking for me for a while, and finally one went in.''

Lundqvist appeared in his 743rd game (regular season and playoffs combined) to move past Richter's 742, and he broke Richter's record for saves when he dropped down and made a pad stop on a right-point slap shot by Jeff Skinner on a Hurricanes power play with 1:41 left in the first period. The save was Lundqvist's eighth of the game and the 19,405th of his career (combined regular season and playoffs).

"He was good early on,'' Carolina forward Eric Staal said. "We had some good looks, a good start. They started to find their legs a bit better and obviously capitalized. They've been like that all year; they've been opportunistic; they can score. They have a good defensive team, and a good goalie.''

Lundqvist got his 56th NHL shutout, his first since Dec. 14, 2014.

"I wanted it,'' Lundqvist said. "It's been, what? 15, 16 games now (this season)? You want to push yourself to get one and I was close a couple games ago, and going into the third, that was my challenge; I put that as a goal, to keep it at zero.''

He was helped by a penalty kill that killed six Carolina power plays and 32 of the past 34.

"I think the last couple weeks, it's the best I've seen it in a long time,'' Lundqvist said. "Just the timing, the reads they're making, and it gives a lot of confidence to the group, knowing that if you take a penalty, it's not going to cost you every time. Obviously, you have to be careful and try to play a disciplined game, but when we do take penalties, that group has been outstanding for us.''

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