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Henrik Lundqvist earns 4th shutout in 14 games, beating Flyers 2-0

NEW YORK - The questions thrown at Henrik Lundqvist are posing more of a challenge than the pucks he is deflecting with relative ease.

There is no clear-cut reason why the third-year goalie has been so good and so durable so far in the young season, but he isn't pressing for answers.

Lundqvist earned his fourth shutout of the season, stopping 30 shots, and Jaromir Jagr and Brendan Shanahan accounted for the offence in the New York Rangers' 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night.

Not only has Lundqvist looked incredibly sharp, he has shown no signs of fatigue despite playing all 14 games for the Rangers (7-6-1).

"I don't know what to say," the 25-year-old Swede said. "Going into the season everybody was talking about our offensive game. But we've been playing a really strict game, defensive hockey, smart hockey. The good part is it starts to pay off."

New York, which struggled during a 2-5-1 start, won its fourth straight to finish a 5-1 homestand. The first-place Flyers (8-5) were shut out for the first time this season despite having forward Simon Gagne back from a four-game absence due to dizziness.

New York has scored an NHL-low 25 goals this season, but is tied with Columbus for best in the league with 23 yielded.

"The guys really worked in the third period and didn't allow Philly to create much," Lundqvist said. "We've played like a team that's ahead 10-0 in the third period."

Philadelphia has lost eight of 11 to the Rangers, who fired a season-high 45 shots at Martin Biron. It marked the fourth time in seven games the Flyers gave up more than 40 shots and the eighth straight first period they were outshot - this time 22-11.

"It's frustrating," forward Daniel Briere said. "We're trying to contain early in the game instead of being the team that should put the pressure. We wait until the second or third period to start doing that. It's cost us a few games.

"It puts a lot of pressure on Marty back there to hold the fort. It's definitely unacceptable."

Lundqvist turned aside the 11 shots he faced in the first period and stopped 14 more in the second.

Lundqvist, who had five shutouts all last season when he played 70 games, has allowed more than one goal only once in eight games. All his shutouts this season have come in that span and the Rangers have gone 5-2-1.

"They've really committed to defence," Briere said. "At the same time, we have a much better offensive team than we showed."

Lundqvist preserved his 11th NHL blanking by denying Scottie Upshall on a short-handed breakaway in the second period, and then swept away Joffrey Lupul's shot with just more than five minutes left in the game.

Jagr, limited by a groin injury Saturday against New Jersey that still required treatment between periods Monday, got the Rangers on the board late in the first on New York's final shot of the period. Dan Girardi made a nice pass behind his back in the neutral zone to Jagr, who carried the puck into the Philadelphia zone.

He skated to the left circle and, while being guarded by defenceman Braydon Coburn, wristed a shot that sailed over Biron's glove. It was Jagr's third of the season - and this time it stuck.

Jagr thought he scored No. 3 last Monday, but three days later the goal was credited to Shanahan.

Shanahan's power-play goal on Monday, while Briere was serving a hooking penalty, made it 2-0 with 3:21 left. He slapped in a feed from Jagr above the right circle.

"He played great right from his first shift," Shanahan said of Jagr. "The goal he scored is the kind of goal you get confidence from."

Biron made 43 saves in his return to the Flyers' net after just his second game off this season. He was given a rest after allowing five goals on 41 shots in a 5-2 loss at Montreal on Thursday.

He was sharp Monday, making his best save in the second period when he stopped Marcel Hossa's quick shot off a deflected pass at the left post, but the Flyers lost for fourth time in six games on an eight-game road trip that has stops left in Pittsburgh and New Jersey this week.

Notes: The Rangers' 22 first-period shots were a season high, topping the 20 they had also in the first period against Washington on Oct. 12, their previous high. It was also the most allowed by Philadelphia this season, topping the 19 yielded to Carolina in the second on Oct. 20. They gave up 44 overall that night, also a previous season high. ... The Flyers scored at least three goals in their first eight games, going 6-2, but scored only two in three of their previous four contests and lost twice.


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