by Patrick Hoffman on 03/20/11 at 05:03 PM ET
Questionable coming into this afternoon’s tilt with the Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers’ netminder Henrik Lundqvist put on a show in Pittsburgh in a 5-2 Rangers’ victory.
Lundqvist was brilliant in making 38 saves and picking up his 31st victory of the season. He was able to control his rebounds, make second and third stops when he needed to and provided the kind of goaltending that any team needs to win a hockey game.
For someone who had a stiff neck, Lundqvist was a warrior for the Blueshirts and showed his club just how much he means to them and in turn, how much he needs them to help him in order to succeed. The team was able to do just that this afternoon and now, have a four-game winning streak.
With the win, the Rangers now have 82 points and are up four on the eighth place Buffalo Sabres (who also play today) in the Eastern Conference. The win also puts the Rangers just three points behind the sixth place Montreal Canadiens so the Rangers are making noise at the right time.
Rangers’ forward Ryan Callahan also had a big game for the Blueshirts. He picked up the game winning goal with his 23rd of the season on a power play he created off a high-stick. Callahan also was great on the team’s penalty kill in the final minutes of the game before setting up Brandon Dubinsky’s empty net goal and on the afternoon, finished with three points.
Dubinsky also had three points and did a good job of protecting his teammates and contributing offensively and on the defensive side of the puck when he needed to.
The team also had some success on the power play scoring two goals. As I have said over and over again, special teams play is going to be huge in the playoffs so if the Blueshirts can continue working on it and have some success, it could go a long way come April.
The Rangers will be back in action on Tuesday night when they are at home to take on the Florida Panthers. This is a potential trap game for the Rangers as they sometimes play to a lower team’s level.
With that said, if the Rangers can find a way to win, they’ll find themselves on a five-game winning streak and closer and closer to solidifying a playoff spot, which in the end, is all that matters.
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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.