by Patrick Hoffman on 01/14/09 at 05:45 PM ET
It certainly wasn’t one of their best games of the season, especially against one of the worst teams in the National Hockey League, but the New York Rangers were able to come away with a 2-1 victory over the New York Islanders thanks to the play of Henrik Lundqvist and a rather successful power play.
Lundqvist appears to be returning to form as he posted his third solid performance in a week by making 33 saves en route to his 22nd victory of the season. He was especially good in the first two periods, stopping 24 of 25 shots and enabling his club to hold onto a 2-1 lead going into the third period, a lead that they would not relinquish.
“We knew we would create some chances against them, and it finally paid off in the second period, and then we locked it down the rest of the way,” Lundqvist told the team’s web site. “It was a great effort, and we are definitely on the right track here.”
For Lundqvist, it was his third win in the last week and it has allowed him to get his stats back to where they usually are: 2.55 goals against average, .913 save percentage and two shutouts.
“We had a good start to the game, but the second half of the first period they really came after us, which we knew they would,” Rangers head coach Tom Renney said to the team’s web site. “But we hung in there, though Henrik had a lot to do with that, of course.”
It was also nice to see the team finally have some success with the man advantage as Nigel Dawes scored on the power play when his team needed it the most. During last night’s tilt, MSG pointed out that Dawes has scored three of the team’s last four power play goals. Hmmmm, paging Tom Renney!
The downside of this game is that for the most part, the team was outplayed by a very young Islanders hockey club. The Blueshirts’ defense allowed them to get into prime scoring areas and make life hell for Lundqvist. They certainly won’t be able to get away with an effort like that on Friday night when they take on the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center in Chicago.
“What we can’t do is fool ourselves, and our guys won’t because they understand that they need to be better than they were tonight,” Renney told the team’s web site. “We’ve got a couple big games coming up against real good opponents and we’re going to have to correct ourselves through looking at this one.”
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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.