With sole possession of sixth place in the Eastern Conference on the line, the Rangers hosted the Boston Bruins yesterday afternoon at MSG, and the Garden faithful were treated to a stunning goaltending duel between Henrik Lundqvist and Alex Auld. After 60 minutes of regulation and five more in overtime, neither club managed to put the puck in the net, so the shootout decided which team would earn the extra point and move into sixth.
Nigel Dawes remained perfect in shootout attempts (now three for three) when he wristed a shot past Auld (who registered his third shutout) in the second round; it was the only tally of the shootout. Dawes’ goal lifted the Blueshirts to 1-0 victory for their 12th consecutive game in which they earned at least one point.
Thanks to Lundqvist’s outstanding performance, coach Tom Renney’s’ decision to again shoot first worked this time as Marco Sturm, Phil Kessel and David Krejci were all stopped in the shootout. Lundqvist was selected the first star with 29 saves and earned his 16th career shutout.
Alex Auld made 35 saves and was almost as brilliant as Lundqvist. Both teams had great scoring chances but were frustrated by great goaltending time and time again. Auld was the beneficiary of two crossbars but that did not take away from his effort whatsoever.
The victory salvaged one game for the Rangers in the four game series with the Bruins this season. Both teams have 13 games remaining. The Rangers are just two points behind the Ottawa Senators for fifth and have a game in hand on them. New Jersey still leads the conference with 86 points, five more than the Blueshirts.
The Buffalo Sabres, who are in an absolute must win situation being four points out of contention in ninth place, host the Rangers tonight.