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Rangers give out annual team awards

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
Past Rangers MVPs

Past Players' Player Winners

The Rangers presented their annual team awards to three players on Thursday night in conjunction with the regular-season home finale.

Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist captured the team MVP award for the third straight season in a vote of the local chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. With 37 saves in the playoff-clinching victory over the Flyers on Thursday, Lundqvist collected his 37th victory of the season, tying a career high.

Lundqvist has held opponents to two or fewer goals in 44 games this season, helping the Blueshirts to a fourth straight 40-win season. Thursday's victory gave the team 26 home wins for the season -- the most since the Stanley Cup championship year of 1993-94.

By winning the team MVP award, Lundqvist becomes the first Rangers player to earn that honor in three consecutive seasons since Andy Bathgate did it from 1956-57 to 1958-50. A full 50 years had passed since Bathgate, whose No. 9 was retired on Feb. 22, achieved his three in a row.

Bathgate and Lundqvist now share the team record of three straight wins of the MVP award, which dates back to 1941. The overall record for most Rangers MVP awards is six, won by Brian Leetch during his 16 seasons with the team.

The second award handed out Thursday went to two players -- captain Chris Drury and penalty-killing expert Blair Betts. They shared the annual Rangers Players' Player Award, as voted by the team's 21 players.

The award was a first for both player and marked the ninth time in the past 50 years that two Rangers have shared the award. It has been shared by two players in three of the past four seasons.
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