DETROIT, Mich. – Henrik Lundqvist was given a shot to start against a team suited to boost his confidence.
Lundqvist made 33 saves for his first shutout of the season and Mika Zibanejad scored in the first period, giving the New York Rangers in a 1-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night.
“It was a fun game for me because there was a lot of action," Lundqvist said. “I knew every save was going to matter."
The offensively challenged and rebuilding Red Wings were the perfect opponent for Lundqvist, who didn't play the last five games and eight of the previous nine games. He gave up a total of nine goals over his previous two starts.
“It felt great to come back and play well," Lundqvist said. “This has been a tough month for me. For almost 14 years, I was used to going out there to play and now it is different. You try to get used to it and keep it all in and just help the team."
Lundqvist, nearing his 38th birthday, entered the game with a career-worst 3.18 goals-against average. The five-time All-Star and 2012 Vezina Trophy winner looked sharp against the NHL's worst team as he made 10-plus saves in each period.
“I knew he was dialed in and excited," Rangers coach David Quinn said. “We weren’t surprised by how well he played.”
Early in the third, Lundqvist made a glove save to stop Patrik Nemeth's slap shot. The Red Wings pulled Bernier late in the game to add an extra skater and still could not get a puck past Lundqvist.