NEW YORK (AP) Henrik Lundqvist made 33 saves for his first shutout this season and 56th of his career, leading the New York Rangers to a 3-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night.
Jesper Fast, Rick Nash and Ryan McDonagh scored for New York, which improved to 11-2-2 with its sixth straight win. The Rangers improved to 17-1-0 against Carolina since Feb. 22, 2011.
Fast and Nash scored 11 seconds apart in the first to give the Rangers the lead even though Carolina controlled play for much of the period.
Fast scored his third of the year following a sequence in which New York was able to maintain extended possession of the puck in the offensive zone, leading to the right winger taking a shot from the right circle.
Nash’s goal was aided by a giveaway, and Cam Ward‘s over-aggressiveness. The Carolina goaltender slid far to his left, leaving Nash with essentially an empty net to put the puck into.
Ward stopped 20 of 23 shots for the Hurricanes, who fell to 6-9-0.
On a night in which Lundqvist passed Mike Richter for most appearances for a goaltender in franchise history and became New York’s record holder for combined regular season and postseason saves, New York’s netminder was strong throughout. Never more so than in the second period, where he made 14 saves to help the Rangers maintain their two-goal lead.
Arguably his toughest save came with 8:03 left in regulation, when he grabbed Victor Rask‘s drive from the circle after Dan Girardi turned the puck over in the defensive zone.
Lundqvist also benefited from good fortune as Jeff Skinner‘s shot hit the crossbar and caromed out.
McDonagh’s goal 13 seconds into the third ended the scoring.
NOTES: New York scratched Dylan McIlrath and Dominic Moore. When asked why he held out Moore following the optional skate, New York coach Alain Vigneault said he was “just trying to piece all our lines,” and later added, “any time you’re faced with decisions like that, it’s not easy. Especially a guy like Dom and what he’s done for our team. But I’m looking at the big picture and I’m trying to see if we can’t come up with a combination.” . Carolina scratched Noah Hanifin, Andrej Nestrasil and Brad Malone. Hanifin, the fifth overall pick in the draft, has been scratched three times in 15 games. Still, Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said Hanifin’s development has “been good. It’s a big step from where he was three years ago. We were talking about it at the ceremony last night: Three years ago, he’s playing high school hockey, so it’s a big step over a 36 month period. He’s handled it well.”