Lundqvist 40-For-40; Rangers Explode In 3rd, Down Canucks
Updated at 1:06 a.m., Oct. 19, 2011
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Henrik Lundqvist made 40 saves, and the New York Rangers broke open a scoreless game with four goals in the third period to beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 on Tuesday night for their first victory of the season.
Mike Rupp started the scoring 2:22 into in the third, and Lundqvist did the rest just as he did in the first two periods in keeping the Rangers in the game.
Ryan McDonagh and Brian Boyle scored 93 seconds apart midway through the final frame, and Marian Gaborik added the last goal with 2:21 left as the injury-depleted and road-weary Rangers snapped out of a 0-1-2 start despite being outshot 40-19.
New York, which opened the season with two losses after regulation in Sweden, played for just the second time in 10 days. The Rangers continued an early-season pattern of undisciplined play and were forced to kill eight Canucks power plays.
Lundqvist, who led the NHL last season with 11 shutouts, was the main reason they did as he earned the 36th blanking of his career.
It was New York’s first win at Vancouver since Oct. 11, 1997.
The Rangers were without leading defenseman Marc Staal, who has been out all season because of the effects of a concussion, and they managed only nine shots at Roberto Luongo through two periods. But their 10th drive, taken by defenseman Michael Del Zotto, bounced off Luongo’s right pad and right to Rupp inside the left circle.
The big winger, signed this summer, fired in his first goal with the Rangers under the blocker of Luongo as he tried to recover across the crease.
That was enough for Lundqvist, who pitched a 31-save shutout in New York’s only meeting with the Canucks last season. He was at his best shortly after Rupp scored. Lundqvist managed to keep the puck out during a wild scramble in the crease less than a minute later.
He slid across the crease to deny Keith Ballard on a rebound, and robbed Manny Malhotra and Kevin Bieksa before McDonagh doubled the lead.
After a Canucks turnover at the blue line, Brandon Dubinsky spotted McDonagh in the slot and the defenseman one-timed the drop pass behind Luongo. Boyle beat Luongo from the slot after getting behind the defense on a 2-on-2 rush a few shifts later, and Gaborik tapped the puck in after a brilliant rush and pass by McDonagh.
New York only had five goals in three games before the outburst.
Luongo finished with 16 saves for the Canucks (2-3-1), who came off a four-game road trip for a stint of five of six at home.
The Rangers won’t play at home until Oct. 27 because of renovations at Madison Square Garden. By then they will have traveled more than 16,000 miles on their seven-game, season-opening road trip, including four in Western Canada.
The night started with an emotional tribute to Rick Rypien, who played his first six seasons in the Vancouver organization before signing in Winnipeg this summer and later taking his own life in mid-August.
The Canucks got a lift, however, by the return of heart-and-soul center Ryan Kesler, who made his season debut after having hip surgery in July.
NOTES: The tribute to Rypien included good friend and Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa hugging all five members of his family that were on hand, and a four-minute video montage of Rypien s career. … Rangers D Brendan Bell, called up from the AHL on Sunday, didn’t play. D Michael Sauer (sprained right shoulder) missed a second straight game, and LW Wojtek Wolski (groin) missed a third. … Canucks LW Marco Sturm, signed to a one-year, $2.25-million contract this summer, was a healthy scratch after struggling his first five games.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)