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Henrik Lundqvist blanks Predators as Rangers win ninth straight at Garden

Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers

Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers makes the first period save during an NHL game against the Nashville Predators at Madison Square Garden on Monday, Nov. 25, 2015. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Bruce Bennett

In another improbable win, Henrik Lundqvist made 31 saves and the Rangers, with just 19 shots, fought off the frustrated Nashville Predators on Monday, scoring twice in the third period for a 3-0 victory.

The Rangers, who won their ninth straight game at Madison Square Garden, were shorthanded for 10 of the first 40 minutes, did not have a power play of their own, blocked 22 shots and were outshot 25-7, yet led 1-0.

It was the third consecutive game that the Predators (11-6-3) failed to score, and they began cheap-shotting the Blueshirts late in the third period with the game out of reach.

Rick Nash, who had a hat trick in the previous game against the Panthers in Florida, went down the left side around Mike Fisher at mid-ice and sent a high short-side wrister past Pekka Rinne at 4:32 of the second. It was only the fifth shot on Rinne. Nash's sixth of the year was his fourth goal in the last four meetings with the Predators.

After two Rangers goals in the third, Lundqvist secured his second shutout of the season. He blanked the Hurricanes on Nov. 10.

Without a goal in the second period, the Predators (11-6-3), who had been shut out in the previous two games, passed the franchise record scoreless streak of 176:18.

The Rangers picked up the p[ace in the third. Just 36 seconds into the period, Derek Stepan was tripped by Craig Smith and the Rangers had the man advantage, but did not capitalize. However, they extended the lead to 2-0 when Marc Staal took the puck toward the net and found Stepan alone in front. Steptan who redirected the pass past Rinne's extended left pad at 4:23. It was Stepan's sixth goal of the season.

With 11:23 left, Calle Jarnkrok hit the crossbar, and the Rangers then had their second power play 16 seconds later when Gabriel Bourque tripped Jarret Stoll. When Oscar Lindberg won a faceoff, Kevin Hayes' long wrister hit defenseman Barret Jackman and eluded Rinne for a power-play goal and a 3-0 lead at 10:38.

The home crowd started getting restless late in the second. When Nash was sent off at 15:32 for sliding to swipe away the puck and tripping Austin Watson at 15:32, Lundqvist skated away from the net to protest and waved his glove in disgust. Watson applauded and mimicked the official's call, while fans taunted "These refs [stink]" and booed a puck battle on the penalty-kill when no call was made on the Predators.

In the first period, the Rangers killed one penalty after another, including all but 39 seconds of a four-minute double-minor on Stepan for high sticking Craig Smith at 16:39. The previous infractions were on Keith Yandle for holding Gabriel Bourque at 13:31 and Dan Girardi for interfering with James Neal at 11:07. So Lundqvist and the Rangers had prevented a power play goal for 7:21.

During that last kill, Dominic Moore dashed down the right side and Nash raced to the net, but Nash couldn't quite reach Moore's backhanded centering pass.

The Predators, had 14 shots, and the Rangers blocked 11 shots. The Rangers managed just three shots on Rinne, including a 130-foot, last-second slapper by Moore.


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