NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 24: Ryan Callahan #24 of the New York Rangers is congratulated after scoring a first period goal against the Winnipeg Jets on January 24, 2012 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)
The New York Rangers will head into the All-Star break with the lead in the Eastern Conference. They came away with a huge 3-0 win over the Winnipeg Jets tonight, and Henrik Lundqvist earned his 40th career shutout along with the win. That shutout moves Hank into the number two spot for all-time shutouts for the Rangers.
The Rangers didn't wait long at all in this one, and Ryan Callahan got them on the board just four minutes into the first period. Anton Stralman got a quick, high, slap shot in on Ondrej Pavalec that wound up squeaking through his pads. Callahan located the puck and slammed home the rebound for the 1-0 lead.
Shortly after, Mike Rupp and Chris Thorburn exchanged blows along the boards. Both players got in their shots, but Thorburn walked away holding his shoulder. The Rangers went into the locker room holding a 1-0 lead, one which they would eventually expand.
Follow after the jump for more.
John Mitchell stated earlier this week that the Rangers needed to empty the tank and go into the All-Star break with a win. Mitchell stuck to his words, and widened the Rangers lead to 2-0 with a great wrist shot from the circles. Michael Del Zotto made a great feed to Mitchell to set-up the goal.
Mike Rupp and Chris Thorburn would come together once again, following a big hit from Rupp. Once again, each player exchanged their punches, and Thorburn skated off awkwardly holding his shoulder. Not a good idea to get into a second fight, with an already messed up shoulder.
During the second period interview, Brad Richards was interviewed and asked why he hasn't been scoring. Well, Richards went right out and proved everyone wrong, and got the goal. Ryan Callahan made a perfect, and a generous one as well. Callahan saw Richards open, and knew he needed that goal and gave him a perfect feed. Richards snapped it short side on Pavalec and gave the Rangers a solid 3-0 lead.
Henrik Lundqvist was literally a wall tonight, and made some saves I didn't think were possible. In the third period, Blake Wheeler had an opportunity on a wide open, and I mean wide open net. Hank stretched out the leg and literally robbed Wheeler of the easy goal. Now that's an All-Star goaltender.
The Rangers had four opportunities on the power play tonight, but still couldn't get the goal. However, the movement looked much better, and the Rangers were able to get set-up on basically every power play. They had their chances but were unable to beat Pavalec. If they keep it up like that on the power play, the goals will eventually happen.
The Boston Bruins were in action tonight as well, and took a loss to the Washington Capitals. That means the Rnagers will head into the All-Star break with the Eastern Conference lead. The Rangers will now be off for a week as we head into the upcoming All-Star game this weekend. Henrik Lundqvist, Marian Gaborik, and Dan Giradi will be representing the Blueshirt in Ottawa, and we here at Blueshirt Banter wish them all the best!