Published April 16, 2013
| Sports Network
Henrik Lundqvist picked a great time to notch his first shutout of the season.
The New York Rangers hope that their star goaltender stays in top form on Tuesday night when they go after a third straight victory in a meeting with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Lundqvist, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, made 29 saves in Saturday's 1-0 overtime victory against the New York Islanders, notching the 44th shutout of his career. His stellar effort gave the Rangers enough time to find the game's first goal, which came from Dan Girardi with 1:49 to play in the extra frame.
The 31-year-old Lundqvist improved to 19-14-3 with a 2.06 goals against average and .928 save percentage this season. He has allowed more than two goals just once in his past 13 games and not more than three in 20 of his past 21 outings.
"(Lundqvist) was our backbone. He gave us the opportunity and we ended up scoring a goal," said Rangers head coach John Tortorella.
The Rangers improved to 5-1-1 in their last seven games and have 46 points with seven games to play. They are two ahead of the ninth-place Winnipeg Jets for the Eastern Conference's final playoff berth with a game in hand. The Jets host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.
While the Blueshirts will be looking to improve their playoff chances, they'll also have an opportunity to deal the Flyers' fading postseason hopes another critical blow. However, a regulation win by Philadelphia tonight would make things interesting for the Black and Orange.
The Flyers are seven points back of the Rangers with six to play, though tonight is the final of five regular-season meetings between the Atlantic Division rivals.
New York has won each of the past three as well as 11 of the previous 12 encounters overall. The Rangers have also won five of their last six in Philadelphia.
The Flyers kept their long shot hopes alive on Monday with a 7-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens, snapping a four-game slide in which they had scored just three goals.
However, Scott Hartnell netted the seventh hat trick of his career and both Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek had a goal and two assists in the win over the Habs. Voracek matched a career best with his 18th goal of the season.
"It's nice to contribute and we're not out of it yet, so there's always a chance," said Hartnell. "We started sitting back there for a little bit, but I thought we responded well. We played our system and played hard and got a big two points here."
Ilya Bryzgalov made 25 saves for the Flyers, who lost yet another player to injury when defenseman Kent Huskins suffered a concussion after taking a shoulder to the jaw from Montreal forward Ryan White, who was assessed a major penalty.
Philadelphia's blue line is already without Nicklas Grossmann, Andrej Meszaros and Braydon Coburn for the rest of the season, while forwards Max Talbot and Zac Rinaldo are also out.