Vesey scores in 3rd as Rangers beat Jets 3-1
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Henrik Lundqvist was in the right spot at the right time for most of the day.
Jimmy Vesey was in a perfect spot at a key moment for the New York Rangers.
Lundqvist made 37 saves, Vesey scored with 3:53 left in the third period, and the Rangers beat the Winnipeg Jets 3-1 on Sunday.
“This win is so important in so many ways,” Lundqvist said. “To be able to go on the road and beat a really good team. The way we do it, stick with it, and in the end we come up with a couple big plays. That’s how you’re going to win a lot of games.”
Vesey returned to the lineup after missing three games with a concussion and picked up his 11th of season when he deflected Brady Skjei’s shot after it hit a Jets player.
It looked as if Dustin Byfuglien tied it for Winnipeg with 1:22 remaining, but his goal was called off because of teammate Mark Scheifele’s high stick. Michael Grabner then scored an empty-net goal for New York with 43 seconds left.
Mats Zuccarello also scored for New York in the opener of a four-game trip. He stopped a 21-game drought with his ninth goal.
Nikolaj Ehlers scored his 21st goal for Winnipeg, which lost consecutive games at home for the first time this season. Connor Hellebuyck made 25 saves.
Ehlers praised Lundqvist for his stellar effort.
“Of course he’s a great goalie,” he said. “He made some pretty cool saves today and definitely made a difference. I still think we had a lot of chances, but some days they go in and some days they don’t.”
The Jets dropped to 3-2-1 in their 10-game homestand.
Winnipeg got off to a nice start, but lost out on a chance for a bigger advantage in the first. Tyler Myers’ goal was disallowed after New York challenged for offside. Ehlers then ripped a one-timer past Lundqvist’s glove side to make it 1-0 at 1:06.
With 1:06 left in the period, Ehlers’ pass attempt was intercepted by Zuccarello and he broke in alone on Hellebuyck. The puck hit Hellebuyck, dropped to the ice and trickled in under the goalie’s pads.
“It was a stupid pass from me trying to make it into the middle there,” Ehlers said.
The scoreless second featured three power plays for New York and one for the Jets. Both goaltenders made some big saves, including Hellebuyck diving to stop a Rick Nash shot and Lundqvist turning away a close-in try for Myers.
Winnipeg had two early power plays in the third and Lundqvist made saves on Blake Wheeler and Patrik Laine. The Rangers also got a power play and Zuccarello had a shot stopped and hit the post.
“This was a real good team win, like last game,” Zuccarello said. “Blocking shots, everyone playing really well. (Lundqvist) was real good for us.”
NOTES: Both teams finished 0 for 4 with the man advantage. ... Jets F Matt Hendricks was back in action after missing two games with a concussion and got into a fight with F Cody McLeod.
Rangers: Visit Minnesota on Tuesday.
Jets: Host Washington on Tuesday.