National Hockey League
- Madison Square Garden PUCK DROP -
Chicago Blackhawks
ML: CHI +115
NY Rangers Rangers
ML: NYR -127
Goalie Performance
Scott Darling
#33 G Scott Darling
Antti Raanta
#32 G Antti Raanta
0.971 SV% 33 SV
0.923 SV% 24 SV
Scoring Leaders
Artem Anisimov
#15 C Artem Anisimov Goals Assists 1 1
Artemi Panarin
#72 LW Artemi Panarin Goals Assists 0 2
Trevor Van Riemsdyk
#57 D Trevor Van Riemsdyk Goals Assists 1 0
Jesper Fast
#19 RW Jesper Fast Goals Assists 1 0
Oscar Lindberg
#24 C Oscar Lindberg Goals Assists 0 1
Jimmy Vesey
#26 LW Jimmy Vesey Shots 7

NEW YORK -- Scott Darling on Tuesday night continued to make the most of Corey Crawford's absence.

The backup goaltender stopped 33 shots, including three dangerous chances in the final minutes, as the Chicago Blackhawks held off the hard-charging New York Rangers for a 2-1 victory at Madison Square Garden.

Darling has started all six games since Crawford underwent an appendectomy on Dec. 3. He is 3-2-1 with a .955 save percentage in the absence of Crawford and is making a strong case for a big contract this summer when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

"It's just fun to play against the New York Rangers," said Darling, who was in net in Chicago when the Rangers won 1-0 in overtime this past Friday. "It's fun to play in Madison Square Garden. A lot of this is still new and exciting for me. This is only the second time I've played here. It was a great hockey game and a big two points."

The third-year goaltender was at his best protecting the 2-1 lead in the final minutes. He turned aside a one-time blast from Mats Zuccarello, then extended his left leg to deny Jimmy Vesey on the doorstep. With Rangers goaltender Antti Raanta on the bench for an extra attacker, Darling managed to keep a shot by J.T. Miller out of the net as the forward crashed into him.

"He's been unbelievable," said Trevor van Riemsdyk, who gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead early in the second period. "He made a couple of highlight-reel saves there that leave you saying, 'Wow.' He's been awesome. He's so steady. He's making all the saves, doing a great job handling all the pucks too. We have a ton of confidence in him."

"He made some tough saves as the game went on and the chances got higher in quality," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "He's been outstanding."

Darling had to be outstanding, as his counterpart was even hotter entering Tuesday.

Raanta was making his fourth straight start in place of Henrik Lundqvist, who has spent the past week watching from the bench while his backup won three straight and entered the game with back-to-back shutouts. Van Riemsdyk snapped Raanta's shutout streak at 176 minutes and former Ranger Artem Anisimov scored the winner with 1:09 remaining in the second, his 13th goal of the season.

Raanta made 24 saves but could not beat his former team for a second straight game.

"It was pretty much the same deal as it was Friday night in Chicago," Raanta said. "Darling was there best player and made some key saves in some key moments. When they got the second goal late in the second, it was tough to come back. It was tough, but I thought we played fairly well."

"They're definitely one of the better teams in the NHL," said Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, who could start Lundqvist when the Rangers head to Dallas to face the Stars on Thursday night. "They're guys who have played and won, so you know they're going to be ready and give you their top game."

The Rangers' lone goal came from Jesper Fast in the second period. After starting the season as the league's top offensive team, they have slipped to second after a stretch that seen them score two goals or fewer in four of five games.

That has made Raanta's surprising run so important, even if it may have come to an end Tuesday.

"It was nice to get a couple shutouts but this is a team and if I can help the guys get two points, it's always a good thing for me," Raanta said. "It's nice to get four games in a row, but there is still some work to do and you always learn something from every game."

NOTES: Blackhawks C Jonathan Toews returned from a nine-game absence due to a back injury. ... Chicago D Brent Seabrook was back in the lineup after missing two games with an upper-body injury. ... The Blackhawks scratched RW Jordin Tootoo, D Michal Kempny and D Michal Rozsival. ... Rangers G Henrik Lundqvist served as the backup for the fourth straight game. It's the first time in his career he has been a healthy backup for four consecutive games. ... The Rangers' scratches were LW Rick Nash (groin) and D Ryan McDonagh (flu).
Top Game Performances
Chicago   NY Rangers
Artem Anisimov 2 Points Jesper Fast 1
Artem Anisimov 1 Goals Jesper Fast 1
Artemi Panarin 2 Assists Oscar Lindberg 1
N/A Power Play Goals N/A
N/A Short Handed Goals N/A
Scott Darling .971 Save Percentage Antti Raanta .923
Scott Darling 33 Saves Antti Raanta 24
Team Stats Summary
Team Shots Goals Power Play Penalty Kill Penalty Mins Face Offs Won
Chicago 26 2 0-1 0-0 2 23
NY Rangers 34 1 0-0 1-1 4 19
Upcoming Games
  • NY Rangers will play their next game on the road against Dallas. The Rangers have a W/L % of .500 after a win and .909 after a loss.
  • Chicago will play their next game on the road against NY Islanders. The Blackhawks have a W/L % of .556 after a win and .692 after a loss.