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Rangers Top Leafs to Snap Skid

Grabner Scores Twice, Lundqvist Makes 23 Saves

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

The Rangers snapped a three-game losing streak Thursday night with a 5-2 win over the Maple Leafs in Toronto.

Michael Grabner scored two goals and Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves for his 19th win of the season.

With the Rangers shorthanded and leading 3-2 late in the third period, Grabner took a pass in the neutral zone from Kevin Hayes and broke in and beat Frederick Andersen glove side with 5:03 left for his 20th of the season to secure a win in an impressive bounce back performance following Tuesday's loss.

Video: NYR@TOR: Grabner motors in for SHG on breakaway

Grabner would net his second of the night on an empty net goal with 2:57 remaining to finish off the scoring.

"It's always fun to score against your former team," said Grabner, who spent last season with the Maple Leafs before signing with the Rangers in July as a free agent. "I know a lot of guys on there so it's nice to get it back from the other game we had against them. But at the end of the day, we really needed the two points. We were kind of on a slide there so it's nice to get the two points."

Brady Skjei opened the scoring 6:42 into the contest when he buried a pretty feed from Mats Zuccarello in the slot. Skjei's low wrist shot beat Andersen for his second goal of the season.

After Toronto tied the game on a goal by Tyler Bozak, the Rangers responded with a goal just 4:28 later. Pavel Buchnevich kicked a loose puck towards the net but was able to poke it home with his stick for his sixth goal of the season that put the Rangers back up by one at 14:44 of the first.

Video: NYR@TOR: Buchnevich cashes in on loose puck in front

The goal gave Buchnevich two goals and four assists in four games since returning to the lineup last week following a two-month absence with back and core problems. He's recorded a point in eight straight games he's played since Nov. 5 against Boston.

J.T. Miller would net his 15th of the year 9:02 into the second when finished a one-timer from Hayes to extend the lead to 3-1, which turned out to be the game-winning goal.

"On the rush I think I heard Brady coming behind me and the defenseman made a good play so we were lucky to get the puck back," Miller said of his goal. "[Hayes] in that spot I knew it was coming to me. I tried to get it on net and it was a fortunate bounce."

Video: NYR@TOR: Miller banks Hayes' pass into the net in 2nd

Lundqvist was not tested often but made a handful of key saves, including a breakaway on Auston Matthews and a shoulder save on Leo Komarov early in the third period with the Rangers up a goal.

"I think it was a big game for me, a big game for the team to respond in a good way. Sometimes a win means a little bit more," said Lundqvist, who had been in net for all three losses this past week. "You play 82 games and sometimes a win, right away you put it in your bag, but today I think you enjoy it a little extra with what I've been through the last week."

The relief after the win was evident after a challenging week for Lundqvist.

"It's one game but it's something to build off," Lundqvist said. "You take it one by one. That's all you can do. It hasn't been fun the last few days, I'm not going to lie. But I worked really hard in practice and I tried to regain confidence from there. Just need a solid game and we talked about it after last game, a little more structure. I felt like I was moving better and reading better, so it was a good win for us."

That relief was felt throughout the lineup.

"We knew we didn't want to get into a bigger slide than we have already have been," Grabner said. "It's nice to get that one and obviously we can build off that."

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