Henrik Lundqvist was at his best in making 50 saves on his 36th birthday, and the red-hot Ryan Spooner collected a goal and an assist as the New York Rangers beat the Calgary Flames 3-1 on Friday night in Calgary, Alberta.
Spooner, who has collected one goal and seven points in three games since joining the Rangers from the Bruins in the trade that sent Rick Nash to Boston, had a hand in New York’s first and third tallies. However, Lundqvist was easily the biggest difference at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
The veteran goalie was on his game right from the start, building off a 50-save performance two nights earlier in a win over the Vancouver Canucks. His teammates rewarded him with enough offense.
After the Flames controlled the early going, a gaffe by Calgary goalie Jon Gillies led to the Rangers opening the scoring at the 4:07 mark of the game. Spooner fired a shot off a faceoff that Gillies couldn’t handle cleanly, and Kevin Hayes pounced on the rebound for his fifth goal in six games.
The Flames kept pushing, and Brett Kulak’s second goal of the season pulled them even at 16:39, with their 17th shot of the opening period. Lundqvist made a sensational save on Michael Frolik but couldn’t get in position when Kulak pounced on the loose puck. Both of Kulak’s goals have come against the Rangers.
New York won the game with a pair of second-period tallies. Pavel Buchnevich put the visitors ahead again just 56 seconds into the second period. Seconds after Lundqvist made yet another brilliant stop, Buchnevich was left alone in front of the Calgary cage off the rush and tucked the puck past Gillies’ outstretched foot for the goal.
Spooner made it a 3-1 game with a breakaway tally just past the midway point of the game. Sprung by Tony DeAngelo, Spooner sniped a blocker-side shot.
Gillies stopped 24 shots for the Flames, who have dropped three straight. Calgary is on a 2-5-1 skid and twice has been defeated by the Rangers in a 15-game span in which New York has managed just four victories.
—Field Level Media