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Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist dominates Devils

by John Kreiser /
In New York, Henrik Lundqvist is known as "The King." His kingdom obviously includes New Jersey as well.

Lundqvist has owned the Devils since entering the NHL with the Rangers in 2005. He improved to 14-2-4 in the regular season (19-3-4 including playoffs) against the Rangers' cross-river rival by backstopping Wednesday night's 5-2 victory. It marked the 19th consecutive regular-season game in which Lundqvist allowed two or fewer non-shootout goals. The only time in the regular season in which the Devils beat him three times in a game was their first meeting, a 3-2 overtime win by the Devils on Oct. 8, 2005.

Thanks to Lundqvist, the Rangers are finally enjoying their trips to the Devils' new arena in Newark; they are 4-0-1 in the regular season at the Prudential Center (and 3-0 in the playoffs). The regular-season win total in five visits to Newark matches their total in the last 10 years at the Meadowlands, where they were 4-20-5 in their last 29 visits before the Devils moved to Newark after the 2006-07 season.

Most of those games (though not Wednesday's) came with Martin Brodeur in goal for the Devils. Brodeur was 27-3-13 in his last 43 pre-lockout games against the Rangers; since then, he's just 10-9-4, including 6-9-4 when he opposes Lundqvist.
Ironically, the last Rangers goaltender to allow more than two non-shootout goals to the Devils was Kevin Weekes, the loser in New Jersey's 6-1 win on Dec. 17, 2006. With Brodeur out until at least March following biceps surgery, Weekes got the call for the Devils on Wednesday and was shelled in a 5-2 loss to the Rangers -- the first time New York scored five goals in New Jersey since Jan. 6, 2001.

Shoot less, win more -- Teams taking 50 or more shots in a game continue to struggle. San Jose's 4-3 overtime loss to Nashville on Tuesday, a game in which the Sharks fired 57 shots on Dan Ellis (and 30 others that were blocked or missed the target), means that the five teams taking 50 or more shots in a game this season have lost all five games.

Ready, aim, fire -- Though they lost while pelting Nashville with 57 shots, the Sharks continue to prosper by getting pucks at the net. The NHL's top team through six weeks needed just 18 games to set a franchise record for most games with 40 or more shots in a season. The Sharks had 46 in Thursday's 6-1 win against Calgary, giving them nine games with 40+ shots -- two more than the franchise mark set in 1996-97 and matched last season. It was the sixth time they've broken 45 in a game -- another team record. Not surprisingly, the Sharks lead the NHL with an average of more than 38 shots a game -- a pace that would see them have more than 3,100 for an entire season.

Working hard -- What were the odds that Tampa Bay goaltender Olaf Kolzig would see a lot of rubber when the Wings came to town Thursday night? If past performances were any indication, the Wings' 39-18 advantage in their 4-3 victory was no surprise.

Lightning goaltenders see a lot of rubber. Tampa Bay allowed 30 or more shots in 14 of its first 15 games, and 35 or more in nine. The Bolts entered Thursday night allowing a League-high 35.5 shots per game.

That's not necessarily a good thing against the Wings. Detroit entered the game second in the NHL with an average of 36.3 shots per game -- nearly two per game more than their League-leading average of 34.4 last season.

At last -- It wasn't easy, but the Buffalo Sabres finally beat the St. Louis Blues at HSBC Arena. Before Wednesday's 4-3 victory, the Sabres hadn't beaten St. Louis in Buffalo since a 5-2 victory at Memorial Auditorium on Oct. 22, 1995. St. Louis had six wins and two ties in its next eight visits to Buffalo. But the Sabres weren't close to the longest active home winless streak against one opponent. That dubious honor belongs to the Vancouver Canucks, who are 0-8-4-1 against Philadelphia since their last home win over the Flyers -- 5-3 on Jan. 17, 1989. Overall, the Canucks are 10-29-2-1 against Philadelphia in Vancouver since entering the NHL in 1970.

Firing blanks -- The next time a team is awarded a penalty shot in overtime, don't blame them for wanting to decline.

Chicago's Patrick Sharp was stopped by Boston's Tim Thomas on Wednesday night in the first overtime penalty shot of the season. That makes shooters 0-for-8 in overtime in the last three seasons -- including Sidney Crosby's miss against Vancouver's Roberto Luongo last December. There hasn't been a successful overtime penalty shot since Anaheim's Jonathan Hedstrom scored to beat Colorado 5-4 on March 22, 2006.

Great in '08 -- Who's the goalie of the year in 2008? He may not have played too often, but Florida's Craig Anderson has a case.

The Panthers' backup goaltender entered 2008 with a 13-34-2-9 record, but has gone 11-3-1 in his 17 appearances (15 starts) this year, with a 1.86 goals-against average. He became the first goaltender in NHL history to post back-to-back 1-0 shutouts on the road when he blanked the Islanders and Bruins in a three-day span, stopping 93 shots in the process -- a record for saves in back-to-back games. He went 6-1-0 in his last seven appearances and had a save percentage of .926 or better in all seven games.

Anderson's 2008-09 record of 3-1-1 with a 1.85 goals-against average, a .946 save percentage and one shutout will be tested Friday; after he shut out Tampa Bay on Wednesday, coach Peter DeBoer has said the backup goaltender will start against the defending Stanley Cup champion Red Wings.

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