NEW YORK (AP) — Henrik Lundqvist stopped 30 shots and came within 1:53 of his second shutout in three games, and the New York Rangers stretched their season-best winning streak to five games with a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night.
The second-place Rangers moved three points ahead of third-place Philadelphia in the Metropolitan Division race by winning what could be a playoff preview. New York has eight games remaining, and the Flyers have 10 left.
Derek Dorsett scored in the first period, defenseman Ryan McDonagh added a goal in the second, and Dominic Moore made it 3-0 in the third against Steve Mason, who made 26 saves.
The Flyers’ Jakub Voracek scored his 21st goal off a faceoff with 1:53 to go to make it 3-1.
Philadelphia, which had a five-game winning streak broken against Los Angeles on Monday, has dropped two in a row for the first time since an 0-3-1 skid from Jan. 20-25.
McDonagh, who has been on an offensive hot streak recently, did it all in scoring his 14th goal of the season to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead. He stopped a clearing attempt at the center of the blue line, skated the puck into the right circle, and snapped off a hard, rising wrist shot that nestled into the top right corner of the net.
McDonagh, who assisted on the Rangers’ tying goal late in regulation against Phoenix on Monday and then netted the winner in overtime as part of a career-best, three-point night, has six goals and seven assists in his past 13 games.
Lundqvist did the rest in a quieter second period when his teammates outshot the Flyers 17-10. He moved well from side to side and didn’t seem bothered by constant traffic in his crease.
His best stop came with 5:23 left when he slid to his right to get his pad on a shot by Adam Hall off a rebound in tight. He then sprawled on his stomach to cover the loose puck with his glove.
In the opening minute of the second, Lundqvist denied Wayne Simmonds on a redirected shot and then pounced on the rebound.
Moore gave Lundqvist breathing room in the third when he scored his sixth of the season with 12:21 remaining.
Despite being outshot and outchanced by Philadelphia in the first, the Rangers carried a 1-0 lead into the intermission thanks to Dorsett’s fourth of the season.
Mason tried to swing the puck from behind his net up the left-wing boards, but it was intercepted by Brian Boyle along the wall. Boyle sent the puck in front to Dorsett, who knocked it down, gathered it and sent in a backhander at 8:41.
The Flyers picked up the pace and built a 15-6 shots edge in the first and nearly tied it during a late power play. Lundqvist stood up to turn aside a deflected shot by Simmonds off a pass from Brayden Schenn and covered the puck.
NOTES: With Chris Kreider sidelined by a hand injury, the Rangers called up center J.T. Miller from Hartford (AHL). Kreider will not accompany New York on its four-game trip that begins Friday at Calgary. The Rangers return home to face Ottawa on April 5. ... Rangers forwards Martin St. Louis and Derek Stepan shook off effects of the flu and were in the lineup. New York coach Alain Vigneault said Monday he made a mistake in playing them while they were sick. ... The Flyers fell to 8-3-1 in March and 12-4-1 since Feb. 1.