Leafs lose again, Rangers extend streak
Lundqvist strong in New York's 4-1 win
Henrik Lundqvist made 34 saves as the New York Rangers defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 Saturday in Toronto.
The Rangers goaltender was outstanding, turning aside all but one shot to extend New York's winning streak to seven games.
Toronto failed to register a point in the standings for the sixth time this season. The Leafs have only one point and are last in the National Hockey League standings.
"We've hit rock bottom," said Leafs forward Lee Stempniak. "There's no lower to go."
The game was another reminder of the deepening hole being dug with every loss.
"It's tough not winning seven games in a row," said Leafs defenceman Tomas Kaberle. "You can feel it inside the dressing room."
New York (7-1-0) took the lead late in the first.
Brandon Dubinsky scored on Leafs goalie Joey McDonald at the 16:00 mark for his third goal of the season. The Rangers centre used teammate Vaclav Prospal and Matt Gilroy as decoys and beat McDonald off the right post to give his team a 1-0 lead.
Leafs coach Ron Wilson felt Lundqvist was the difference.
"I think when you boil it all down, Lundqvist was just unbelievable," said Wilson.
The Leafs (0-6-1) won the shot battle 14-8 in the first and kept traffic in front of King Henrik but still remained behind by a goal after 20 minutes.
Toronto's luck did not change much in the second.
After the Leafs controlled the first few minutes, Rangers defenceman Marc Staal outworked Toronto defenceman Jeff Finger and scored at 4:36.
The 21-year-old pinched from the sideboard, barrelled through Finger and jammed the wraparound past McDonald for his first goal of the season.
"A lot of it is confidence," said Lundqvist. "Even though we know we're not having the best night, we have the confidence right now that we can win."
Two minutes later, after Viktor Stalberg took a high-sticking minor, rookie defenceman Michael Del Zotto jumped on a rebound and beat McDonald five-hole for his third this season and a 3-0 lead.
"Once you get up two or three goals, you feel good," said Lundqvist. "They feel like they have to score three goals to get back into it ... and that's tough to do."
The home side quickly cut into the Blueshirts lead.
Leafs forward Niklas Hagman followed his own shot to the net and kept the puck alive as teammate Ian White snuck in from the blue-line and buried the loose puck to make it 3-1.
But New York struck again to start the third.
Less than two minutes in, the Rangers added another goal as rookie forward Enver Lisin picked up a loose puck turned and fired a shot off the back bar and past McDonald.
Wilson had a message for Leaf fans.
"I understand how frustrated the fans are — I do understand that," said Wilson. "But booing doesn't help."
With files from the Canadian Press