-Henrik Lundqvist posted his third shutout of the season, and 27th of his career, with a 40-save performance to improve to 8-8-1 overall with a 6-4-0 mark on the road. It was his ninth career 40-save effort and first of the season, and his second career 40-save shutout, having stopped 45 shots through regulation and overtime in a 1-0 shootout loss to New Jersey on Jan. 12, 2010 at Madison Square Garden. Tonight’s shutout was his fourth career vs. Florida, including his first career shutout on Oct. 17, 2005 at MSG (4-0).
The shutout was the third this season for Lundqvist, who now has 27 in his career. It was the fourth time that Lundqvist has blanked the Panthers, who had a goal disallowed with 9:28 remaining in the third period because of a hand-pass on the play.
“It’s a big relief for me because I want to help the team get wins,” said Lundqvist. “When I am not winning or playing well it bothers me a lot. Winning and playing well makes me feel a lot better that’s for sure. This was a great road win for us.”
Sharp from the first drop of the puck on Friday, Lundqvist confidently stopped all 15 shots he faced in the first period, including four by Panthers defenseman Dennis Wideman. Not only was Lundqvist good in the opening stanza, he was a bit lucky, too, when Shawn Matthias slid a shot off the post behind the Rangers goaltender.
“You could tell in that first period, it just didn’t look like he was going to let one in,” said Tortorella. “He looked that solid.”
Building upon the solid foundation he established in the first period, Lundqvist stopped all nine shots the Panthers fired at him in the second period, giving him 24 saves through the game’s first 40 minutes. His biggest stop in that time came 4:40 into the second when he stretched out his legs as far as he could to rob Mike Santorelli with his left pad on 2-on-1 shorthanded rush.
While that save on Santorelli was a fantastic highlight-reel stop, what was most impressive about Lundqvist’s game on Friday was that he was so consistently well-positioned that he did not require many acrobatic saves.
“It was a fun game, a lot of action,” said Lundqvist. “You know, they’re a good team. They work hard. They might not have the biggest stars, but they are really a hard-working team. They really gave us a tough time all night.”
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