NEW YORK — Henrik Lundqvist knows one game is not a cure-all for the New York Rangers’ recent ills.
What it could be, though, is an antibiotic.
“This was just so needed, this win, I think for so many reasons,” the star goalie said after the Rangers ended Edmonton’s six-game winning streak with a 4-2 victory Tuesday night.
Rick Nash and Mats Zuccarello each had a goal and an assist, Dylan McIlrath scored his first NHL goal and Jesper Fast added an empty-netter in the final seconds to help the Rangers snap a three-game skid. Keith Yandle finished with two assists, and Lundqvist stopped 18 shots.
“We did a really good job staying focused on what we talked about: being focused and going in here and really paying attention to what needed to be done to win a game,” Lundqvist said.
Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle scored for Edmonton. Anders Nilsson made 17 saves.
“For the most part it was a good effort,” Hall said. “One-goal games usually are decided by little plays, little mistakes, and we made more than they did.”
Back home after allowing a total of 14 goals in road losses to Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary last week, New York led 1-0 at the first intermission thanks to Zuccarello’s 14th and significantly improved coverage in the defensive zone.
The Rangers limited Edmonton to six shots in the period, and 16 seconds after Oscar Lindberg’s hooking penalty expired, Zuccarello converted Yandle’s feed from the left circle to open the scoring.
Unlike the losses in Western Canada in which New York yielded 89 shots in three games, the Rangers held Edmonton to 20 shots for the game.
“We’re used to being a top defensive team in the league,” Marc Staal said. “We were making some plays that are uncharacteristic.”
But the Oilers made the most of their chances in the second period, scoring twice.
Hall tied the game 5:12 into the second with his 15th of the season and sixth in six games. With Lindberg serving a hooking minor, Hall glided down the left wing before whipping a shot through Lundqvist.
The deadlock lasted all of 2:42.
McIlrath gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead at 7:54. The 23-year-old one-timed Yandle’s pass past Nilsson before getting mobbed by teammates.
“It was unbelievable,” McIlrath said. “I just tried to bear down and get it clean off my stick. It didn’t really register until I saw the reaction on some guys’ faces.”