NEW YORK — The Rangers didn’t lead at any point until the seventh round of the shootout. The still managed to earn their fourth straight victory.
"We have to feel good about what we’ve been doing here the past four weeks," Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist said after his 417th career NHL victory. "We had a tough time but we got it done tonight with a really strong third. But we should definitely feel good about how we’re playing and finding ways to win games. That’s going to help us moving forward."
Lundqvist made 29 saves to help the Rangers extend their home winning streak to eight games.
Vesey tied it at 5:05 of the third with a nifty forehand-backhand combination for his fifth goal of the season. Rick Nash set up the goal with a spinning pass.
"The third period was our best. It was a little bit of a slow start," Rick Nash explained who assisted on Vesey’s third-period goal and scored in the shootout. "Good teams find ways to win when they don’t play their best. We found a way to do that."
Grabner tied it 19 seconds into the third with his 10th goal of the season, beating Markstrom with a wrist shot. Gagner put the Canucks back in front 41 second later. Tomas Vanek forced a turnover behind the net and fed Gagner in the slot.
"They got one right back and that could hurt you, that can demoralize you," Shattenkirk said about Gagne’s goal. "We gathered ourselves. We realized we had enough time left to just get one more goal. It didn’t feel as hard as a hill to climb like it was earlier in the game."
Vancouver opened the scoring at 7:54 of the first when Eriksson snapped a wrist shot past Lundqvist. Rangers forward Paul Carey had trouble controlling an outlet pass from his teammate and turned over the puck. Canucks captain Henrik Sedin assisted to extend his points streak to four games. The Canucks outshot the Rangers 11-4 in the period.
The Canucks made it 2-0 at 7:21 of the second when Jake Virtanen fired a wrist shot over Lundqvist’s glove. The Rangers were unable to clear the puck from the defensive zone, Virtanen pulled it away from the boards and took an uncontested shot.
"We have to find ways to win these games when you’re up a couple goals," Eriksson said. "It’s tough when they come back and win it like this. It’s something we need to do better."
Fast scored with 2:20 left in the period on a redirection. Nick Holden earned an assist for his 99th NHL point.
It was only fitting that the Rangers played an extended shootout, 12 years to the day when Marek Malik tallied a creative shootout winner in the 15th round against the Washington Capitals. Lundqvist, in his rookie season, was between the pipes on that day for New York as well.
"I didn’t have it in my mind, that I was going to do it," Shattenkirk said of the ‘Malik Deke’. "I was just talking to Marc Staal and he was getting a little nervous that he was going to have to go. I told him that if had, he would have had to pull off the Malik."
Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh missed his third straight game with an abdominal strain. New York centre Boo Nieves sat out because of a hip pointer. … Grabner skated in his 497th game Sunday. Vanek and Grabner rank first and second, respectively, among Austrian-born players in games played, goals, assists, and points in NHL history. … Canucks defenceman Alexander Edler skated in his 700th career NHL game. … Canucks defenceman Erik Gudbranson missed his second consecutive game with an upper-body injury. Brandon Sutter suffered an injury against the Devils on Friday, and will miss the remainder of the trip.
Canucks: At New York Islanders on Tuesday night.
Rangers: Host Florida on Tuesday night.