Lundqvist tops Jets, earns 40th shutout

Lundqvist tops Jets, earns 40th shutout

NEW YORK - The Associated Press
Lundqvist tops Jets, earns 40th shutout

New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist stops a shot by the Winnipeg Jets during the two teams’ NHL game. REUTERS photo

Swedish goalie Henrik Lundqvist took a ride up to the New York Rangers’ practice rink on Jan. 24 morning, thinking he would have that night off when the Winnipeg Jets came to town.

A bout with the flu for backup Martin Biron changed all that for New York’s All-Star goalie. Instead of resting during the last game before the midseason break, Lundqvist went out and put up the 40th shutout of his stellar NHL career.

Lundqvist made 22 saves in his surprise start to help the Rangers blank the Jets 3-0. Lundqvist (22-4-10) made his fifth consecutive start for the Eastern Conference-leading Rangers, his busiest period since he played in New York’s first six games.

“Four games in a row,” said Lundqvist, who was surprised when told it was actually five.

He sarcastically added that he is “pretty banged up” before giving a true assessment.

“I feel great,” Lundqvist said. “When you’re winning, you’re more relaxed and you don’t use as much energy between games.

“I had to change a little bit. In my head I was kind of relaxed. I was thinking a little bit about All-Star, I’m not going to lie. That’s what you do when you don’t play. You try to get away from the game.” 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.

“I almost thought that he scored,” Lundqvist said. “I was lucky. I felt like I had a little extra luck. Some nights you just have the bounces on your side, I guess.”