The 32-year-old netminder, who finished with 30 saves, is now tied with Rangers icon Mike Richter for the franchise record with 301 wins.
What it means: Following a disappointing performance in their past two games, the Rangers proved they can excel against a big, strong Winnipeg team that is desperate to keep its playoff hopes alive. With the win, the Blueshirts reclaimed second place in the Metropolitan Division, passing the Columbus Blue Jackets, who were idle on Friday night. The Rangers face a tough test ahead, though, as they return home to New York to host a scorching-hot San Jose Sharks team that is 9-1-1 in their past 11 games.
Speed kills: When the Rangers are playing well, they are a team that utilizes both their skill and speed. They did that against the Jets in the second period with two goals that resulted from heads-up plays from the team’s quickest forwards.
Chris Kreider, playing with so much confidence of late, showed both his patience and trademark speed in burying a lead pass from Derek Stepan to knot the score at two in the middle of the second period. Hagelin, who had only one goal in the past 13 games entering Friday’s action, gave the Rangers the lead with less than eight seconds left on the frame, racing down for a 2-on-2 goal, his second of the game, as veteran forward Martin St. Louis emerged from the penalty box.
Staying steady: Though it was a wide-open game in which both teams traded chances, Lundqvist came up big in the second period. The 2012 Vezina Trophy winner stood tall despite a flurry of Jets chances in the middle frame; he even came out past the faceoff circle in an aggressive move to poke-check the puck and thwart a chance by Winnipeg’s Andrew Ladd.
Down and out: Winnipeg’s Ondrej Pavelec suffered a lower-body injury, as ex-Islander and former first-round Rangers draft pick Al Montoya took over between the pipes in the second period. Pavelec has had a rough season with Winnipeg with a 20-24-6 record, 2.95 goals against average and .903 save percentage.