Dan Girardi scored 3:11 into overtime at the Nassau Coliseum and the Rangers defeated the rival, New York Islanders 1-0, Saturday night.
Both goalies were great in the matchup, with Henrik Lundqvist coming out on top for his first shutout of the season.
Evgeni Nabakov and Henrik Lundqvist had a goalie duel tonight. Nabakov made 19 saves on 20 chances, with King Henrik stopping all 29 shots that came his way.
It had been 27 games since Dan Girardi last scored a goal, also against the Rangers, but in a season where the Blueshirts have been starved for goals, tonight’s winner had to come from a defenseman.
The Rangers now sit a little more comfortably in 8th place, with a 2-point and one game in hand lead over the 9th place Winnipeg Jets. They stand only 1 point behind the Islanders with a game in hand for 7th, and 2-points behind the 6th place Ottawa Senators with an even amount of games played.
The Rangers are now 5-1-1 in their last seven and could finally be waking up from their season-long inconsistent hibernation. Perhaps the dormant giant many predicted to win the East has awaken.
Still, the story remains focused on Lundqvist, who had his strongest game of the season, taking on the nonstop, speedy, and skilled-scoring front tandem of the Islanders, including superstar John Tavares, Matt Moulson, Brad Boyes, and Michael Grabner.
The Rangers defense, oft-injured and not at full strength this season, stayed strong in front of Hank, while he showed bright glimpses of last year’s Vezina-winning effort.
He is now 5th in NHL league-wide wins with 19. Among goalies with at least 20 appearances, Lundqvist is 4th in goals against average with a 2.06 GAA. In the same qualifier pool, Lundqvist is 3rd in save percentage with a .928 SV%.
His shutouts are down from 2011-12 and his numbers are not quite yet at the standards he set (1.97 GAA, .930 SV%), a strong finish to this season could put him right back on the same elite list.