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Remarkable Rangers run streak to five

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers

NEW YORK (AP) - Derek Stepan's goal in the sixth round of the shootout lifted the New York Rangers past the Phoenix Coyotes 2-1 Tuesday night.

Stepan beat Phoenix goalie Mike Smith high to the glove side before the Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist stopped Coyotes captain Shane Doan to secure the win.

The Rangers, who won for the 10th time in 11 games, improved to 27-9-4 for a league-leading 58 points and their best start since 1993-94 when they won the Stanley Cup. New York won its fifth straight overall and improved to 13-3-2 at home.

After two scoreless periods, Ruslan Fedotenko put New York ahead at 2:27 of the third with his sixth goal of the season. Phoenix's Radim Vrbata tied it with his team-leading 20th with 9:23 remaining in regulation.

The Rangers beat the Coyotes for the eighth time in their last 10 meetings, including a 3-2 victory on Dec. 17 in Phoenix when Brad Richards got the game-winner with 0.1 seconds left in regulation.

Phoenix has lost seven of nine overall.

Smith made a spectacular stick save on Marion Gaborik at 3:10 of overtime on a penalty shot. Gaborik went to the forehand and seemingly had Smith beat but the goalie somehow got the handle of his stick on the puck as he sprawled to his right.

Lundqvist made key saves on Ray Whitney and former Ranger Lauri Korpikoski in the last minute of overtime.

The first two periods featured typical play between teams who rarely see each other. Mike Rupp of the Rangers and Paul Bissonnette of the Coyotes fought at 1:57 of the first period. The game's only power play came on a hooking penalty assessed to Vrbata late in the second period. Daymond Langkow of Phoenix and the Rangers' Brandon Dubinsky were given roughing minors late in the third.

Lundqvist, who won his seventh straight, has held opponents to two or fewer goals in 21 games this season, and is 17-4-1 with three shutouts since Nov. 3. New York is 24-6-2 since Oct. 29, after beginning the season 3-3-2.

NOTES: This is the latest the Rangers have been first in the Eastern Conference since the 1995-96 season, when New York held the top position through games played on Mar. 15, 1996. ... The Coyotes claimed C Gilbert Brule off re-entry waivers from Edmonton. The former first-round pick of Columbus was playing for Edmonton's AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City.

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