DETROIT — Henrik Lundqvist made 33 saves for his first shutout of the season and Mika Zibanejad scored in the first period, giving the New York Rangers in a 1-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night.
The Rangers also beat Detroit at home on Friday night and have won six of nine games, generating some hope they can rally into playoff contention.
Detroit, meanwhile, has lost eight straight games for the third time this season and has at least 15 fewer points than the rest of the league.
Jonathan Bernier gave the Red Wings a chance to compete, stopping 30 shots. His teammates didn’t help out at the other end the ice.
Detroit wasted an opportunity to pull into a 1-all tie late in the second period when Valtteri Filppula had an open net to shoot into. The centre’s backhander hit the right post and his attempt off the rebound slid across the crease.
The Red Wings had another scoring opportunity in the closing seconds of the second when Dylan Larkin was alone in front of Lundqvist, but he couldn’t get a backhander past the veteran goaltender.
The Red Wings were the perfect opponent for the Lundqvist, who didn’t play the last five games and eight of the previous nine games. He gave up a total of nine goals over his previous two starts.
Lundqvist, nearing his 38th birthday, entered the game with a career-worst 3.18 goals-against average. The five-time All-Star and 2012 Vezina Trophy winner looked sharp against the NHL’s worst team by making 10-plus saves in each of the three periods.
Early in the third, Lundqvist made a glove save to stop Patrik Nemeth’s slap shot. The Red Wings pulled Bernier late in the game to add an extra skater and still could not get a puck past Lundqvist.
The Rangers took advantage of a power play midway through the first period and Zibanejad scored off a rebound and provided all the offence that was needed for the win.
Rangers F Chris Kreider, who had an assist, left the game in the second period after his head was inadvertently hit by Zibanejad’s right knee. … Filppula played in his 1,000th career NHL game.
Rangers: Host Dallas on Monday night, starting a four-game homestand.
Red Wings: Host Philadelphia on Monday night.
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Larry Lage, The Associated Press