After a week in which he won one of the NHL’s Three Stars of the Week, some New York Rangers fans began to clamor for Antti Raanta to remain in net on a full-time basis.
Others defended the incumbent Henrik Lundqvist, willing to look past the struggling King’s numbers and wanted to wait for him to return to his usual dominant form.
As Tony Stark once said…is it too much to ask for both?
Henrik Lundqvist, making his first start in four games against the Dallas Stars, briefly left the game due to a cheap shot by Cody Eakin, requiring Raanta to step in, but he eventually returned to finish what he started, partaking in the first shared shutout in the 90-year history of the Rangers in a 2-0 win on the road.
Eakin’s egregious hit came almost at the midway point of the first period, knocking Lundqvist down when he went to play a puck behind the Rangers’ net. The hit knocked Lundqvist’s mask off, and he was analyzed for a concussion, forced to leave the game and putting Raanta in net. In Lundqvist’s place, however, Raanta faced no shots, as the Rangers spent the majority of his time on an unsuccessful major power play, which was served by Jiri Hudler, for Eakin was also sentenced to a 10-minute misconduct. Cleared, Lundqvist returned before the period let out, with Raanta on the ice for 5:31 of game time.
Lundqvist emerged at the top of his game, required due to several penalties the
Rangers (21-10-1) took, including three alone in a second period where the Stars outshot the Rangers 18-9. However, Lundqvist’s efforts were soon rewarded, as the Rangers took control of the game in the third period. Outshooting Dallas 10-3, they finally broke through against Antti Niemi when another Ranger returning from an extended short absence, Rick Nash, scored a shorthanded goal while Jesper Fast served two minutes for interference. Mats Zuccarello put in an empty netter in the penultimate minute, and the Rangers took home the 2-0 victory on the road in Dallas (12-14-6).
With the victory, the Rangers conclude a brief southern trek on Saturday night against the Nashville Predators (8:00 PM, MSG+)