Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault has spoke recently of his team needing their goaltender to make the big save at the big moment.
That's exactly what Henrik Lundqvist provided Tuesday night when he made a season-high 43 saves in the Rangers' 4-1 win over the Ducks at Madison Square Garden.
"I felt good. I didn't expect this type of game," Lundqvist said. "The couple of scouting reports going into this game and I saw they didn't shoot much in those games. I went into the first period expecting like a 20-shot game and right away they set the tone by throwing pucks at me."
Video: ANA@NYR: Lundqvist makes a nice pair of saves
Despite the 44-20 shot discrepancy, Lundqvist praised the work of his defensemen in keeping shots to the outside and not allowing many second opportunities.
"The big thing for us … is how we want to play in front, how I want to play and the D and the way we worked together today was I think the key," Lundqvist said. "They boxed out the guys so well. So many shots from the point and from far out with traffic. The way they battled in front to help me there was the key for me."
New York opened the scoring on a goal from Oscar Lindberg 4:01 into the game. Lindberg buried a pass from Pavel Buchnevich in the slot for his second tally of the season.
Video: ANA@NYR: Zuccarello roofs Kreider's nice feed
Mats Zuccarello would extend the Rangers' lead to 2-0 1:06 into the second period when he converted on a Brady Skjei pass at the circle for his 11th of the season.
The Rangers had chances to extend the lead on an odd-man rush between Derek Stepan and Jimmy Vesey, but Gibson made a highlight reel blocker save to keep the puck out.
Michael Grabner would have a breakaway opportunity minutes later, but Gibson stopped it too, this time with the glove.
Anaheim finally cashed in when Jakob Silfverberg beat Lundqvist at 6:14 of the middle frame to trim the Rangers' lead to 2-1, but Lundqvist would allow no more.
Video: ANA@NYR: Grabner beats Gibson with bar-down snipe
Grabner would get some revenge for the earlier stop when he gave the Blueshirts insurance 3:45 into the third period to put the Rangers up 3-1. Grabner beat Gibson top-shelf for his team-leading 24th goal of the season.
He'd add an empty net goal with 18.5 seconds remaining to ice the game.
While the goals did come, it was Lundqvist who afforded the Rangers the breathing room to capitalize on their limited chances.
"It was awesome. He gave us a chance to win," J.T. Miller said of Lundqvist. "That's huge in a game like tonight where I thought they brought their A-game. They came out flying. It was kind of hard to stop at the beginning, but he kept us in there and we found a way to capitalize on our opportunities."
Vigneault, who picked up the 600th win of his NHL career, said his goaltender was ready from the drop of the puck.
"There is no doubt that was on top of his game right from the start," Vigneault said. "They had long possession times in our own end, and he made key saves at the right time and gave us a chance. We were able to get a couple of odd-man rushes that we were able to bury and we won the game."