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The King is back! Long live the King!

by Brian Compton

Henrik Lundqvist knew it would take every ounce of energy in his body to outdo New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur.
Some random thoughts before I pre-order the Lindsay Lohan/50 Cent album:

The King is back! -- What a time for Henrik Lundqvist to get back on track.

After being pulled during last Thursday’s 6-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs at Madison Square Garden, the New York Rangers’ goaltender got up, dusted himself off and blanked the hottest team in the NHL on Sunday night.

Lundqvist was yanked by coach Tom Renney after allowing four goals on 10 shots Thursday night. Anyone who has watched No. 30 perform during the past two-and-a-half years knows that was nothing more than an aberration.

And with a future Hall of Famer on the other end of the ice, Lundqvist knew it would take every ounce of energy in his body to outdo New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur. After 60 minutes, neither of the top-notch goaltenders saw a puck go past him.

But 30 seconds into overtime, Brendan Shanahan found the back of the net to give both Lundqvist and the Rangers a win they desperately needed. Not only did it snap a three-game skid for New York, but it also helped Lundqvist regain the confidence that went on a brief hiatus.

“It felt like I was missing a little energy last game,” Lundqvist said after helping end the Devils’ nine-game winning streak. “It’s not hard to get that feeling playing against the Devils. I felt good going into this game. After the first period, I felt like I was back.”

Truth be told, Lundqvist was never really gone. Sunday marked the fourth time he’s beaten New Jersey this season. It was his fifth shutout of this campaign, as he has all but stamped his ticket for next month’s All-Star Game at Atlanta.

Hot Wings -- One of these years, the Detroit Red Wings are going to struggle.

I’ve been telling myself that since I was in high school.

The Wings won their sixth straight Sunday with a 5-2 win against the Carolina Hurricanes. How impressive was this victory?

Well, try this: Detroit held Carolina -- the only team in the NHL that boasts four players with at least 30 points -- to just 17 shots on goal. After the first period, the Red Wings held a 16-4 edge in that department.

”It seemed like we were chasing quite a bit, were in defensive posture quite a bit, as opposed to having the puck and trying to establish our game,” Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette said.

If I had a choice between playing the Red Wings, or swimming in Lake Michigan in this second week of December, I’d have some serious thinking to do.

Time To Stick Together -- Give Denis Savard credit.

The Chicago Blackhawks coach is sticking by his players despite a season-high, four-game losing streak. The latest defeat came Sunday night in a 3-2 loss to the Calgary Flames.

While some could consider it as an excuse, Savard made a great point about the fact that the last three goaltenders Chicago has faced are Roberto Luongo, Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Miikka Kiprusoff. The latter made 35 saves Sunday, including 17 in the third period.

Hard to disagree with Savard here. I mean, that’s like walking into a MENSA meeting and challenging the first three people you see to a game of Scrabble.

“You guys saw the game as much as I did,” Savard told reporters after Sunday’s loss. “If you fault effort, then you guys are watching the wrong game. We’re going to have to dig in more. We’ll find a way. I strongly believe this is going to make us better in the long run.”

More Scoring? You Got It! -- You know things are going well for the Colorado Avalanche when Paul Stastny notches five points and isn’t named the No. 1 star of the game.

Milan Hejduk put up six points (three goals, three assists), while Stastny (two goals, three assists) had five in Sunday night’s 9-5 win against the St. Louis Blues at the Pepsi Center. If the victory proved anything, it’s the fact that Colorado can play any type of game you ask it to. After all, the Avalanche were just two nights removed from a 2-1 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers.

The line of Hejduk-Stastny-Ryan Smyth was absolutely sensational Sunday, leading the Avs’ high-powered attack. St. Louis entered the night not having allowed more than four goals in any game this season. Who would have ever thought that statistic would change against an Avs’ team that was missing Joe Sakic?

Oh, if you Blues’ fans want to do a good deed today, send any spare Rolaids to your favorite team’s coach.

Brian Compton can be e-mailed at:

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