PHILADELPHIA — Just as he has over much of his record-setting career, Henrik Lundqvist came up big for the New York Rangers.
Mats Zuccarello scored in a shootout and Lundqvist made 34 saves and reached 20 wins for the 11th straight season, leading the Rangers to a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.
Chris Kreider and J.T. Miller scored in regulation for the Rangers.
Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds scored for Philadelphia, which had won four straight overall and six in a row on home ice.
Lundqvist improved to 20-12-4. He is the only goaltender in NHL history to have won 20 games in each of his first 11 seasons and joins Martin Brodeur and Tony Esposito as the only goalies who have won 20 games in 11 straight seasons over the course of their careers.
“I take a lot of pride in my numbers,” Lundqvist said. “I want to make the most of my career. I try to work hard and try to help this team win games.
“I’ve been lucky to been part of so many good teams and great players who have been supportive. And also I’ve been given an opportunity to play so many games.”
Lundqvist stopped Shayne Gostisbehere and Claude Giroux in the shootout, and Jakub Voracek shot wide of the net.
“You need a goaltender’s ‘A’ game and there’s no doubt we got (Lundqvist’s) ‘A’ game tonight,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said.
Philadelphia had the best chances to win it in overtime, but Lundqvist saved Gostisbehere’s slap shot with a minute left and then stopped Matt Read’s chance from point-blank range 14 seconds later.
“I was just standing there waiting for the puck, and that’s a good sign for me,” Lundqvist said.
The Flyers were pleased with their overall effort.
“We thought we deserved to win this game, but we can’t get frustrated about this,” Giroux said. “If we keep playing the way we’re playing right now, we’re going to win a lot of games.”
Philadelphia, traditionally poor in shootouts, dropped to 1-4 in tiebreakers this season and 31-66 all time.
Lundqvist showed why he’s had so much success in a stellar second period when he stopped all 11 Philadelphia shots, including several excellent scoring chances.
The Rangers goalie denied Voracek from close range midway through the period and then used his blocker to stop a Voracek blast from the right circle 30 seconds later.
And he made a great save on Giroux from right in front of the crease with 6:46 left before denying Gostisbehere on a breakaway with 1:03 to play in the period.
“Technically, I feel like I’m playing my game,” Lundqvist said. “Mentally, you gain confidence as you do more and more good things.”
The Rangers are grateful for Lundqvist.
“We’re lucky to have him back there,” defenceman Dan Girardi said. “He comes up with something every night that’s special.”
Kreider put the Rangers ahead 2-1 with the lone goal of the second period, finishing a 2-on-1 from close range after a nifty backhanded pass from Rick Nash 4:49 into the period.
Simmonds’ power-play tally with 9:27 remaining in the third period tied it at 2. Voracek set up the goal with a great pass across the crease, and Simmonds one-timed it home for his 12th goal of the season to snap Philadelphia’s 0-for-12 skid on the man advantage.
Philadelphia opened the scoring four minutes into the game on Schenn’s 10th goal of the season. Sean Couturier passed the puck across the crease to a wide-open Schenn, who wristed it into the open net.
The Rangers tied it with a power-play goal with just under four minutes left in the period following an interference penalty on Michael Raffl that left New York’s Derek Stepan flattened along the boards.
The Rangers made Raffl pay when Miller took a long pass from Ryan McDonagh from the defensive zone and fired a wrist shot under Steve Mason’s arm from the left circle. Mason made 29 saves for Philadelphia.
NOTES: Girardi returned to the lineup after missing Thursday’s 3-1 loss to the Islanders because of a cut on his hand. … Gostisbehere was back in the lineup after missing two games with a lower body injury. … Flyers D Nick Schultz was presented with a silver stick by GM Ron Hextall in a pregame ceremony to commemorate his 1,000th game on Wednesday. He became the 301st player in NHL history to achieve the feat. … The Flyers lead the five-game season series 2-1. They next will play Feb. 6 in Philadelphia.