Happy Birthday Henrik Lundqvist!
And what a birthday it was.
For the second consecutive game, Lundqvist put the team on his shoulders; making a combined 100-saves.
With their 3-1 win over the Flames, the Rangers managed to build off the momentum they obtained following their 6-5 OT win against Vancouver Wednesday night.
At 36-years-old, Lundqvist looks as spry as he did when he was 26.
The Flames started the first period hot, but it didn’t last.
4:07 into the game, Ryan Spooner won a face-off in Calgary’s zone and pushed the puck forward for a shot on goal.
Rookie goalie, Jon Gillies thought he had the puck. But it squeaked through him and Kevin Hayes batted home the loose puck for the 1-0 lead.
For Spooner, it’s his sixth assist in three games as a Blueshirt.
And for Hayes, it’s his career-high, 18th goal of the season.
Brett Kulak tied the game late in the first, but it wound up being the only goal Calgary would score.
Pavel Buchnevich scored 56 seconds into the second period; giving the visitors the 2-1 lead.
And that lead proved important as Lundqvist was under siege throughout the game.
Good thing that 10 minutes later, Spooner added a beautiful goal to his resume; increasing the Rangers’ lead to 3-1.
The third period was a track-meet, but Lundqvist held strong.
As time wound down in the game, one question remained; would Lundqvist make 50-saves again?
With the final seconds rapidly racing off the clock, Calgary fired one final shot at Lundqvist, and as he had done all night, he made the save; giving him consecutive 50-save performances for the first time in his illustrious career.
BLUESHIRT BULLET POINTS
HIS MAJESTY: Before the game, The Birthday Boy probably wished for an easy night. However, it appears he didn’t make his wish the right way, as he faced 51 shots. Nevertheless, Lundqvist rose to the challenge; making 50-saves for the second straight night. At 36, Lundqvist is no spring chicken, but he is still one of the best netminders in the NHL.
SPOONMAN: Ryan Spooner has been mighty impressive with five assists in his first two games as a Ranger. Could he top that in game three? Of course! Spooner tallied an assist on Hayes’ first period goal. And then added a goal of his own in the second. With seven points in three games as a Ranger, Spooner is H-O-T, HOT!
PK ALL DAY: A perfect three-for-three performance on the penalty-kill continues a season-long trend of success for the Rangers when down by a man.
PAPA JOHN’S: For the second consecutive game the Rangers put up three or more goals. Enjoy the pizza.
The Rangers face Connor McDavid and the Oilers Saturday (March 3) at Rogers Place. Game time: 10:30 p.m. ET. Broadcast: MSG Networks.
Are these the Rangers or last month’s Islanders?
It’s rare that a team gives up 50+ shots in consecutive games. And it’s even rarer when one goalie wins both games.
In fact, Lundqvist’s consecutive 50-save wins are the first time in NHL history a goalie has accomplished such a feat.