NHL Game Summary - Atlanta at NY Rangers
(Thursday, January 24th)
Final Score: NY Rangers 2, Atlanta 1 (SO)
New York, NY (Sports Network) - Brendan Shanahan notched the lone goal of the shootout as the New York Rangers celebrated a special night with a 2-1 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers at Madison Square Garden.
Shanahan beat Atlanta netminder Johan Hedberg with a shot between the pads on New York's first chance. Henrik Lundqvist turned aside Mark Recchi and Slava Kozlov, while Hedberg stoned Chris Drury and Jaromir Jagr. Marian Hossa then gave the Rangers the victory when he fired his chance high and wide to the right side.
"Didn't want to get too quick with it or too clever with it, I just wanted to pump it into the net," Shanahan said of his shootout opportunity. "One thing about Hedberg, he's quick. Tonight we won a game where things are not going well, where you have to scratch and claw. It wasn't gonna be easy, clean or pretty, and we better make a habit of winning those games as well, and not just ones like Tuesday night."
Michal Rozsival picked up the lone regulation goal for the Rangers, who head into the All-Star break having beaten Atlanta in consecutive home games.
Lundqvist needed to make only 17 saves to post his second straight win.
Hossa tallied for the Thrashers, who have dropped five straight games and played without superstar forward Ilya Kovalchuk, suspended for one game after a hit from behind on Rozsival during Tuesday's 4-0 loss at the Garden.
Hedberg was the hard-luck loser, allowing one goal on 33 shots for his third straight defeat.
If another crack at the struggling Thrashers wasn't motivation enough, the Rangers were bolstered by a pregame ceremony to retire former defenseman Brian Leetch's No. 2.
Leetch became only the fifth former Blueshirt to see his jersey raised to the rafters, joining Ed Giacomin (1), Rod Gilbert (7), Mark Messier (11), and Mike Richter (35).
The Texas-born, Connecticut-raised backliner was the ninth-overall selection of New York back in 1986, and spent parts of 17 seasons with the Rangers, winning a Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP during the club's memorable 1994 Stanley Cup victory.
"I've always considered it a privilege to play for the Rangers organization," Leetch said. "I've loved living in Manhattan and calling it home for 19 years."
"I put great value on the friendships I've shared in this city," he continued. "I've always considered the energy and excitement in this building to be a gift, and I thank you (the fans) for that. I thank you for all the years of support."
Despite the lively crowd the Rangers did not play with passion in the opening 20 minutes during a scoreless deadlock which saw them outshoot the visitors by a 9-6 margin.
The Thrashers in fact scored first, as Hossa knocked in a loose puck off a shot from Tobias Enstrom for a power-play goal 45 seconds into the second period. Drury's hooking call with eight seconds left in the first period set up the advantage, but was the Rangers' lone penalty of the contest.
Rozsival recovered nicely from his collison on Tuesday, and evened the game 8:52 into the third by increasing his career-best goal total to 12.
"I think they thought it was the beginning of Tuesday's game there in the first period. They were trying those pretty plays and passes and we were just cutting them off," said Thrashers forward Eric Perrin. "I thought it was to our advantage, to put pressure on the home team who doesn't want to disappoint the fans. We wanted to show them we had character and we played two good periods but didn't finish."
Leetch added the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in 1989, and a pair of Norris Trophies as the league's best defenseman in 1992 and 1997. He finished his 18-year career in 2006 as a Bruin, with 247 goals and 1,028 points over 1,205 games for New York, Toronto and Boston....Thrashers defenseman Ken Klee received multiple stitches and injuries around his eye after being hit late in the second period and did not return...The Rangers improved to 2-3-0 all-time during retirement ceremony games...New York improved to 4-4 in the shootout this season, while Atlanta fell to 5-4.
01/25 00:12:23 ET