Quick gets 60th shutout, Lafreniere scores as Rangers blank Penguins
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Jonathan Quick made 32 saves for his 60th career shutout and Alexis Lafreniere scored early in the first period to give the New York Rangers a 1-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night.
In his first season with the Rangers as Igor Shesterkin’s backup, Quick has allowed only 11 goals while going 5-0-1 with two shutouts in six starts. He became the second goaltender in franchise history to earn a point in each of his first six decisions with the team, joining Eddie Mio in 1981-82.
“(Quick) has been outstanding,” new Rangers coach Peter Laviolette said. “Today might have been his best. He was really sharp. As the game pressed on, (Pittsburgh) has some guys that can really create and (Quick) made some big saves.”
New York (13-3-1) has won five of six overall and is 11-1-1 in its past 13 games. The Rangers are five wins from 3,000 in franchise history.
Quick, a two-time Stanley Cup champion with Los Angeles, became the 20th goalie in NHL history — and first born in the United States — to reach 60 shutouts. He ranks second among active goaltenders behind Minnesota’s Marc-Andre Fleury (73).
Lafreniere scored his eighth goal for the Rangers, who haven’t lost consecutive games this season. Their 11-game point streak ended with Monday night’s loss at Dallas.
New York has points in nine of 11 road games, including eight of the last nine.
“I thought our guys came out really well, did a really good job, especially in the first period,” said Laviolette, one game from tying Dick Irvin for 10th-most games coached in NHL history. “We got ourselves a lead and continued to push.”
Tristan Jarry stopped 35 shots in a strong performance for the Penguins, who had a first-period goal disallowed. They have dropped three of four following a five-game win streak.
Pittsburgh went 0 for 5 on the power play, including three chances in the third period.
“I think it was a struggle on the power play,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “They have a lot of pride and when it doesn’t go the right way, they put a lot of pressure on themselves to make it work. I think we were forcing it a little bit.”
The Penguins played without two top-six wingers and a third-pairing defenseman. Pittsburgh forward Rickard Rakell (upper body) and defenseman Chad Ruhwedel (lower body) were both placed on injured reserve Tuesday. Rakell is out long term, while Ruhwedel is considered week-to-week. Bryan Rust, second on the team with nine goals, missed Wednesday’s game and is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
Quick, who signed a one-year deal with the Rangers in July, has permitted one goal or fewer in three of his six starts.
“Every night we’re just trying to get wins, collect points,” Quick said. “It’s a long year. We’ve been doing a good job of that early in the season.”
Lafreniere gave Quick the only goal he needed when he scored on a breakaway at 5:10 of the first period with a backhand over Jarry’s glove.
“Luckily, there was offsides a little bit earlier in the play,” Quick said. “We caught a break there. They were offsides by a couple inches, we were able to kill that penalty and go from there.”
Rangers: Finish a four-game trip Friday at Philadelphia.
Penguins: Visit the Buffalo Sabres on Friday.
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