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Zuccarello's OT Winner Preserves Lundqvist Gem in Victory over Wings

Rangers Captures Seventh Straight Win at Home

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia / NYRangers.com

Friday's tilt between the Rangers and Red Wings had a bit of everything.

Superb goaltending, chances on both sides and in the end, a dramatic finish, as Mats Zuccarello's tally 37 seconds into overtime lifted the Rangers to a 2-1 victory over Detroit for their seventh straight win on home ice.

Brady Skjei won a one-on-two battle below the Detroit goal line and shoveled a pass to Zuccarello, who was uncovered in front and went top shelf to beat Jimmy Howard for the victory.

 "I tried to go there, obviously, but it doesn't go there all the time," Zuccarello said. "It's nice to see it go in."

Video: DET@NYR: Zuccarello snipes homes wrister in overtime

Before the offense came in the third, Howard and Henrik Lundqvist turned in one of the best goaltending duels in recent memory and combined for 49 saves through the first 40 minutes of play.

For the second straight game, the Rangers were badly outshot in the opening 20 minutes. But unlike Wednesday night in Carolina when New York had three goals to show, it was Lundqvist who bailed out his teammates with superb goaltending.

Lundqvist made 17 saves in the opening stanza and none better than his breakaway stop on Dylan Larkin just 3:47 into the contest.

Video: DET@NYR: Lundqvist denies Larkin on the breakaway

Howard, meanwhile, shined in the second period. After just facing six Rangers shots in the opening 20 minutes, Howard stopped all 16 shots that were sent his way, while another 12 attempts were either blocked or missed the net.

Howard robbed Rick Nash with his left pad off a pretty feed from Kevin Hayes to Nash on the side of the net. Moments later, Zuccarello fed Kevin Shattenkirk for the one-timer in the slot but was denied by a sprawling Howard.

Tomas Tatar finally broke through Lundqvist 4:05 into the third. With Michael Grabner serving a minor for tripping, Tatar's wrist shot from the circle beat Lundqvist over the glove to give the Red Wings the 1-0 lead.

New York finally capitalized on a chance of its own when Chris Kreider buried a Pavel Buchnevich pass from just outside the crease. The puck banked off Howard's pads and through his legs to even the score at 10:17 of the third.

Video: DET@NYR: Kreider pots loose puck to knot the game

Lundqvist, who made 40 saves, is playing the best hockey of the season, having now gone 10 consecutive periods without surrendering an even strength goal. He's 8-2-0 in his last 10 appearances, along with a 2.05 GAA, a .937 SV% and one shutout.
"I feel really good," Lundqvist said with a smile. "Great Thanksgiving dinner yesterday and even better win today."

Lundqvist's first period left a mark on his teammates, and kept his team in the game long enough for the offense to come alive in the third and the overtime period.

"Hank is our best player, our leader on the ice," Zuccarello said. "We expect him to be like that every game. We know he can be, too. If we can help him out, we know how good he can be. It's just good to see that he held us in to that game in the first period. It's good to see and it gives us a chance to come out in the second and take over."

Video: DET@NYR: Lundqvist flashes the leather on Nyquist

Lundqvist's - and the Rangers' - rough start to the season now feels like a distant memory. Players - including Lundqvist - often remark at how much better it is to come to the rink when the team is rolling, and that's certainly the case right now in RangersTown.

"To me there is only one thing that makes me laugh a lot and that's winning," he said. "It's hard for me to enjoy anything away from the rink, at the rink, when we are not winning. And right now I think the last 12 games, we are 9-3, and it's easy for me to relax. It is important for me that we do well, that we win. That's the best solution. To see me laugh, that's what we have to do."

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