Henrik Lundqvist has to be used to it by now. It's happened time and time again in his Rangers career. He plays brilliantly, only to have his teammates fail to support him at the other end of the ice.
But there was a strange twist to that familiar script Monday night with the Blackhawks in town: the Rangers actually bailed out Lundqvist to earn a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over the defending champs.Scott Levy/NHLI/Getty Images
Brandon Dubinsky starred as the Blueshirts battled back to beat the Blackhawks on Monday.
The Rangers handed The King a 2-1 lead 55 seconds into the third period, but Lundqvist allowed what seemed like a harmless Patrick Kane wrist shot from the left hash to trickle through his pads and tie the game at 6:08 of the third period.
"You could feel the air being sucked out of the building," Rangers defenseman Erik Christensen said.
Twenty-eight seconds later, Christensen breathed ait back into the Garden when he picked up a misplayed puck in the Chicago end and flipped a wrist shot from the left hash mark that beat Marty Turco. The Christensen tally gave the Rangers the lead at 6:36 of the third period and let Lundqvist off the hook.
Lundqvist stood tall in the final 25 seconds as the Blackhawks tried to tie the game on a 6-on-4 advantage. Lundqvist made two key stops in the waning seconds and the Rangers left the ice with only their second win in six games at the Garden.
"We just beat a good team in Chicago, so it shows we can do it," Ryan Callahan said of winning on home ice.
They certainly couldn't have done it without Callahan and linemates Artem Anisimov and Brandon Dubinsky. The trio struck twice as Dubinsky (two goals) was the beneficiary of two setups by the red-hot Callahan, who has filled in admirably for injured wingerMarian Gaborik by scoring in seven straight games.
Callahan assisted on Dubinsky's tally in the first. He also fed Dubinsky (seven goals) in front of the net for a power-play goal 55 seconds into the third period that gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead. Anisimov also assisted on both tallies.
"I think we have enough skill on that line that if we give enough effort and energy we are going to get opportunities," said Dubinsky, who is tied for fourth in the NHL in scoring with seven goals.
"Right now they are playing on top of their game and we need it," added Lundqvist.
They certainly did after Lundqvist, who finished with 33 saves, allowed the soft game-tying goal to Kane. But Christensen came up with an improbable game-winner 28 seconds later. Lundqvist then stopped the Blackhawks in the final 13:24 to lift the Rangers to their second straight win.
"We were given a second chance there," Christensen said. "And we just really tightened up in our own end so we could pull it off."