NEW YORK (Reuters) - Henrik Lundqvist posted his 20th win of the season and the New York Rangers crushed the slumping Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0 to retake first place in the Atlantic Division on Monday.
Lundqvist earned his 18th career shutout and first of the season with 27 saves as the Rangers handed the Penguins their fifth consecutive loss.
The 26-year-old became the fifth NHL goalie to start his career with four 20-win seasons.
“I think I came pretty well prepared,” said Lundqvist, who played in Sweden for five years before joining the Rangers.
“I played against a lot of good players and a lot of good goaltenders so I think mentally I was prepared to come over here,” he told Reuters.
He is now 12-1-1 against the Penguins at Madison Square Garden.
Nigel Dawes and Paul Mara scored power-play goals, with Chris Drury adding a goal and then assisting on Scott Gomez’s empty-netter in the third period to spark New York to their third successive win over Pittsburgh this season.
The Penguins, who failed to score on eight power-play opportunities, had not lost five successive games since 2006. They are 4-11 in their last 15 games, tumbling from second to ninth place in the Eastern Conference.
Despite having two of the top three points scorers in the league, last season’s Stanley Cup finalists have scored only eight goals in the past seven games. Points leader Evgeni Malkin has not scored a goal in eight games with fellow All-Star starter Sidney Crosby goalless for four.
Writing by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; editing by Peter Rutherford