Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 27 shots he faced for his fourth shutout of the year and received offensive support from Dan Girardi, John Mitchell, and Ryan Callahan to lead the New York Rangers to a 3-0 victory over the red-hot Nashville Predators Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.
While the Rangers moved to an NHL-leading 62 points, Nashville saw their five-game winning streak snapped.
New York tallied a goal in each period against Predators' starter Anders Lindback, who stopped 26 of the 28 Blueshirts shots he faced on the night.
Both goaltenders made big saves early, as Lundqvist snuffed out a point blank chance by Martin Erat, and Lindback made a big right pad stop on a one-timer off the stick of Marian Gaborik to keep the game scoreless.
The home team jumped out to an early lead when Girardi dumped the puck towards the net from the right wing boards and deflected off Nashville defenseman Jack Hillen and past a surprised Lindback for his fourth goal of the year at 6:15 to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.
New York doubled their advantage midway through the middle stanza, with Mitchell scoring off a great individual effort. As he carried the puck along the right wing wall, Mitchell spun away from Gabriel Bourque, then fired a shot from the right hash marks that beat Lindback for his fourth goal of the season at 10:42 to stake the Rangers to a 2-0 lead.
Lundqvist made some incredible saves while protecting the lead, most notably stopping David Legwand on a partial breakaway.
Callahan was awarded a goal with 51 seconds remaining in regulation when he was hooked from behind by Erat while on a breakaway for his 15th goal of the year with Lindback pulled for an extra attacker to round out the scoring.
But the big story of the night was the play of Lundqvist, who improved his record to 20-9-4 in besting Lindback, who dropped to 2-5-0 for the season. It was his first game in nearly a month as Pekka Rinne has started every game in the interim, and Lindback fell to a personal fourth consecutive loss.