While Henrik Lundqvist continues to progress towards the top of the NHL Goaltender’s All Time lists, the Rangers continued to progress.
The Rangers beat the Chicago Black Hawks, 4-3 at the Garden last night as Lundqvist tied Hall of Famer Terry Sawchuk for 6th place on the All Time Wins list with his 445th career victory.
Progress? The Rangers gave you a reminder of how poorly they can play and how solid a hockey team they can be on certain nights. That’s progress for this young squad.
The Black Hawks came out flying and took a 1-0 lead. The Rangers were on their heels and were starting to look like the team that played so poorly in Columbus four days ago that it caused coach David Quinn to question his team’s effort, calling it a “freakin joke.” This time, the Rangers came out of their early coma thanks to a play that Ranger fans can hope is a portent of things to come in the future.
19-year old Filip Chytil picked up the puck in his own end and rushed up the right wing side before entering the Chicago Zone. Chicago defenseman Henri Jokiharju actually stick checked the puck but it came off the boards right to Chytil who beat Jokharju, and then beat Black Hawks goaltender Colin Delia on the short side to tie the game at one.
Chytil has two goals and two assists in his last five games and was one of the best players on the ice last night. Coach David Quinn has certainly noticed. “The thing I like about him is how he’s been hounding the puck lately,” he said after the game.
Mats Zuccarello put the Rangers ahead with his 8th goal of the year late in the first period. It was also his fourth point in the last four games. Chris Kreider added his 22nd in the second period for a 3-1 lead.
Chicago cut the lead to 3-2 in the third but the Rangers were able to hang on until Mike Zibanejad scored an empty netter before Chicago’s Dominik Kahun made it close once again by scoring with two seconds left.
Lundqvist made 24 saves to tie Sawchuk on the all time list and now he’s only nine away from . After the game, Lundqvist was appreciative of his place in NHL history. “It’s a honor to be up there,” Lundqvist said. “It’s a very cool feeling.”
The Rangers have won two in a row and three of their last four as they head to Boston on Saturday for their final game before the bye week. It’s a chance for Quinn and company to garner some momentum going into the extended time off. “We’ve gone through a tough stretch,” Quinn said. “We’ve started to dig ourselves out of a hole and that’s a big game (vs Boston on Saturday) for us in a lot of ways.”