Rapid Reaction: Rangers 4, Habs 1
March, 30, 2012
By Katie Strang | ESPNNewYork.com
What it means: Defenseman Michael Del Zotto notched two goals in the third period and the Rangers tallied twice on the power play to topple the Habs 4-1 for their fourth straight win and retain a five-point lead in the East. Making his season-high eighth consecutive start, Henrik Lundqvist was less than three minutes away from his ninth shutout of the season until Rene Bourque scored the Canadiens' lone goal with 2:27 to play. The 30-year-old netminder still made 19 saves to help boost the Rangers toward their 50th win of the season, a feat achieved only three times in franchise history.
Power-ful play: With Brad Richards' second-period marker and Del Zotto's third-period slapshot, the Rangers scored two power-play goals in consecutive games for the first time all season. The unit has struggled almost all year -- entering Friday’s match, the team ranked 28th in the league -- but when it’s clicking, the Rangers have rarely lost. New York is 24-1-4 in games during which they’ve recorded at least one power-play goal.
Second chance: After fanning on his first attempt, Marian Gaborik buried his second from between the hashmarks for his 39th of the season, beating Habs goaltender Carey Price at 8:56 for a 1-0 first-period Rangers lead.
Good month: Richards tallied a power-play goal 30 seconds into the second period for his 25th of the season. The top-line center has been scorching of late; he entered Friday’s contest second in the NHL in scoring for the month of March and added to his impressive numbers with a two-point effort (1 goal, 1 assist) against the Canadiens.
Extra effort: Rangers captain Ryan Callahan retained his post as fan favorite for his gutsy, hard-nosed play. The gritty 27-year-old winger won the annual Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award for the third time in four years. The award, voted by the fans, recognizes a player that goes “above and beyond the call of duty,” and is named after NYPD’s Steven McDonald, who was shot and injured in the call of duty in November 1998.
Up Next: Rangers vs. Bruins, Sunday at 7 p.m.