by Patrick Hoffman on 02/02/12 at 01:35 AM ET
Coming into tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres, you just knew that it was going to be a tough game for the New York Rangers.
The game lived up to that billing as the Rangers’ were able to come away with a 1-0 shootout win thanks to the shootout winner by team captain Ryan Callahan. However, the main reason the Rangers won tonight’s game was because of the goaltending of Henrik Lundqvist.
Lundqvist made 34 saves in regulation and stopped all but one of the shootout attempts taken by the Sabres in his second straight shutout (6th of the season…tied for first in the league). Simply put, Lundqvist played the way he always has this season for his hockey club.
Had it not been for Lundqvist’s terrific play, this could have just as easily been a shutout for Sabres’ goaltender Ryan Miller. Miller, who won last night over the Montreal Canadiens, was stellar in this game in making 29 saves and giving his team every chance to win a hockey game.
For the Rangers, their power play has to be a major concern. The team was 0-2 and one of them came in overtime that gave the Blueshirts a 4-on-3 advantage. However, the team was not able to generate any quality scoring chances.
However, when it comes to the Blueshirts, you take the good with the bad. With the win, the Blueshirts continue to be first in the Eastern Conference with 69 points and are now tied for first in the league with the Detroit Red Wings.
The team will be back in action on Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden for a tilt with the Philadelphia Flyers. It will be the first time the two teams have met since the Winter Classic close to a month ago.
If the Rangers manage to get this kind of goaltending from Lundqvist on Sunday, it could be the team’s fourth win over their rivals this season and really help widen the gap in what is a very tight Eastern Conference.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.