In his second multi-goal performance of his short tenure with the New York Rangers, rookie winger Carl Hagelin enjoyed another standout night as the team collected their fifth straight win and reclaimed the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
"I think each year, when you're building a team, you need a surprise," coach John Tortorella said. "and he's been a pleasant one."
With his pair in the Rangers' 3-0 win over the Islanders Monday, the 23-year-old speedster has tallied six goals in 16 games since being recalled on Thanksgiving Day.
"I'm so impressed with him, I must say," said Henrik Lundqvist of his fellow Swede. "He comes in and plays with the energy and intensity, it's great to see and you need it. I think he makes it a lot easier on his teammates with his speed. They just dump pucks and he beats guys there and he scores as well. So far, he's done a great job.
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WIth his 28-save effort, Lundqvist recorded his third shutout of the season, 38th of his career. Although he wasn't tested much early, he was spectacular in the second half of the second period.
As the Islanders surged offensively, the 29-year-old netminder thwarted the barrage of shots and preserved a 1-0 lead heading into the third period.
"I thought we had some really good minutes and we had some brutal minutes," Tortorella said. "When we had brutal minutes, Hank was outstanding."
Lundqvist collected his 15th win of the season to improve to 15-7-4 overall. He has now held opponents to two goals or fewer in 17 games this season and is 13-4-1 with a 1.77 goals against average, .941 save percentage and two shutouts in the last 18 games.
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With a 22-8-4 record and 48 points, the Rangers are perched atop the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the streaking Bruins, who have won six straight.
"It's a good feeling, no question," said Lundqvist. "It doesn't mean a lot, but it feels good. Obviously, it's good for your confidence, knowing you're doing good stuff here."