NEW YORK – Henrik Lundqvist stopped 22 shots in a bit of a surprise start, and Ryan Callahan, John Mitchell and Brad Richards provided the offense in the New York Rangers' 3-0 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night.
Lundqvist (22-10-4) made his fifth consecutive start for the Eastern Conference-leading Rangers because backup Martin Biron was out with the flu.
This is the busiest stretch of the season for Lundqvist since he played in New York's first six games. He won't be able to rest this weekend, either, because he will be in Ottawa for the NHL All-Star game, but he shows no signs of wearing down.
Biron allowed only one goal in beating the Jets in New York's two previous meetings this season, and Lundqvist picked up where he left off. The All-Star earned his fifth shutout and 40th in seven NHL seasons.
Winnipeg, which lost 2-1 at Carolina on Monday, was outshot 31-22 and fell to 0-8 in the second of back-to-back games. The Jets have been outscored 33-5 in those losses.
New York has won four of six.
Callahan gave the Rangers a 1-0 just 4:05 in when he got to a rebound of defenseman Anton Stralman's shot and slammed it into the wide-open left side of the net for his 17th of the season. The New York captain has three goals and two assists in his last four games.
Winnipeg didn't seem to have much jump in the first period, when it was outshot 11-6, and rarely had control of the puck. The Jets picked up the pace in the second, landing several heavy hits, but still generated only six more shots — none of which seriously threatened Lundqvist.
The Jets' best scoring chance came with 4:36 left when Blake Wheeler tried to jam a shot in, but was stuffed by the post as Lundqvist spread out his pads. The puck skimmed through the crease, and was nearly deflected in by Lundqvist, but he lifted his right leg just in time — allowing the puck to slide by and out of danger.
Just 2 minutes earlier, Mitchell stretched the Rangers' lead to 2-0 with his fifth of the season and third in five games. Michael Del Zotto sent a pass across the Winnipeg zone and hit Mitchell in stride in the middle of the left circle for a hard snap shot that appeared to tick goalie Ondrej Pavelec's glove on its way to the top right corner at 13:22.
Richards pushed the lead to 3-0 with 3:38 left in the game, scoring his 16th this season and first in eight games.
The low shot total was out of character for the Jets, who had outshot their opponents in each of the previous five games — averaging 32.5 per contest.
When Winnipeg put pressure on Lundqvist, he was up to the task. Less than 3 minutes into the third period, Tanner Glass had a chance from point-blank range near the right post, but Lundqvist got over and stopped the drive with his pad and covered the puck.
NOTES: The Rangers recalled G Chad Johnson from Connecticut of the AHL to back up Lundqvist. ... Jets C Evander Kane, who missed his third game because of a concussion, was placed on the injured list. Winnipeg recalled F Aaron Gagnon from St. John's of the AHL. Gagnon, who made his Jets debut in place of Alexander Burmistrov, played a total of 21 NHL games the previous two seasons with the Dallas Stars. Burmistrov was injured during the third period Monday. ... The Rangers went 0 for 4 on the power play and are 3 for 42 on the advantage the past 17 games. ... Winnipeg has killed 20 of 21 power plays the past eight games, but went 0 for 2 with the advantage against New York. ... The Rangers beat the Jets 3-0 in Winnipeg's other visit to New York on Nov. 6