NEW YORK -- In warm-ups Sunday, Henrik Lundqvist wore a special mask to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Jacques Plante donning a mask for the first time in an NHL game. Then he went back to his usual attire.
"I wore it twice in practice," Lundqvist said. "I hope they took pictures of it. I just wasn't comfortable with it."
Against the Bruins, Lundqvist was comfortable enough, worthy of a comparison with Plante, stopping 29 shots for his first shutout of the season in a gritty 1-0 victory. Marian Gaborik, returning to the lineup after missing two games with a sore knee, scored the winner on a one-timer from the slot at 15:51 of the second period.
"It was just a matter of me making the pass (from the left boards) and him hitting the shot," said Vinny Prospal, who has developed some chemistry with Gaborik. "Even though it wasn't a rocket, it found a way through traffic and into the net. Maybe if somebody else shot it, maybe it would go somewhere else."
But it was the Slovak right wing, with 11 goals and tied for third in the league with 19 points, who has cashed in for the Rangers this season. He has points in 12 of 13 games this season, and without him, the Rangers scored three goals in losses to the Islanders and Wild.
"I think everybody feels a little more confident with a guy like that in the lineup," said Lundqvist, who made two key stops on Mark Recchi on a second-period power-play backhander and in the final minute to preserve his first whitewash since a 3-0 defeat of the Devils here at the Garden on March 30. "He's been hurt here and there, but he has been very focused when he came back."
The Blueshirts are 9-3 with the Slovak sniper in the lineup.
"Halfway through the warm-up, I felt good enough to play," Gaborik said. "I'm not where I want to be but I will go out there and help, anyway. It was a huge team effort and started with Hank. We have a tough road trip coming up, so this was a huge two points."
With Chris Higgins (foot) and Sean Avery (knee) returning, as well, the Rangers (9-5-1) left last evening for the longest trip of the season, a weeklong, three-game journey into western Canada to face Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary.
"It needed to be a patient, grinding-type game," said coach John Tortorella, whose team was 1-4-1 in their last six games coming in. "We almost tried to dumb it down a little bit and simply play up the wall and grind with them. They force you to play that way, so we said 'Let's join them' and maybe it will cure some of our problems."
Notes & quotes: Ryan Callahan played a rugged 17:46, with five hits, battled with 6-7 Zdeno Chara, and had a team-high six shots. "Cally was a warrior tonight," Prospal said ... The Rangers are 6-2 at home and 3-3-1 on the road ... It was Lundqvist's 20th shutout and 150th career victory ... When scoring first, the Rangers are 7-0 ... Enver Lisin was hit in the foot by a shot and played just 1:55 in the third period. Center Artem Anisimov moved between Prospal and Gaborik on the No. 1 line ... Rookie LW Dane Byers played a team-low 5:57 in his second Rangers game ... Donald Brashear (right wrist) and Aaron Voros (healthy scratch) did not dress.