Dunham will look to lead the Rangers to their first three-game win streak of 2003-04 when the Anaheim Mighty Ducks make their only appearance of the season at Madison Square Garden.
Since allowing five goals in a season-opening 5-3 loss at Minnesota, Dunham has been practically unbeatable during a personal four-game unbeaten streak, yielding four goals on 120 shots. He’s among the NHL leaders with a 1.74 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage.
The win was the second straight for the Rangers, who are in the midst of a six-game homestand, their longest of the season. Another victory at Madison Square Garden would help the Rangers continue to develop a presence on home ice, something they’ve lacked in recent years.
“It’s like a snowball, one shift after another,” Nedved said. “Everybody builds on that. For the last couple of games, we’ve had the crowd on our side. It’s nice to have that when you’re working hard.”
While Dunham and the penalty killers are playing very well for New York, the same cannot be said for the offense and the power-play unit. The Rangers are the NHL’s lowest-scoring team with 11 goals, and are the only club that has yet to score on the power play, going 0-for-26.
Rugged Chris Simon, usually a fourth-line player, leads the team with four assists and four points.
“It doesn’t matter if you play three minutes or 20 minutes a night. Every second on the ice counts,” Simon said. “Everybody’s important from the first line down to the fourth.”
Tuesday is the opener of a six-game road trip for the Mighty Ducks, 2-1-1 since going winless in their first five games (0-4-0-1).
Rookie Joffrey Lupul scored on the power play with 7:10 remaining in regulation Sunday, helping Anaheim salvage a 1-1 tie against Chicago.
Backup goaltender Martin Gerber continued to make his case for more playing time, stopping 25 of 26 shots. Gerber has allowed just four goals on 86 shots this season, while No. 1 goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere is struggling with a 3.14 goals-against average.
Giguere figures to be back in net Tuesday, but is 0-3 with a 3.93 GAA in four career games against the Rangers.
STANDINGS (through Oct. 26): Mighty Ducks - 6 points, 4th place, 4 PB, Pacific Division. Rangers - 6 points, 3rd place (tied), 3 PB, Atlantic Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Mighty Ducks - Rob Niedermayer and Petr Sykora, 3 goals; Sergei Fedorov, 5 assists and 6 points; Todd Simpson, 29 PIM. Rangers - Four with 2 goals; Simon, 4 assists, 4 points and 29 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 26): Mighty Ducks - Power play: 11.9 percent (5 for 42), 26th in NHL. Penalty killing: 80.6 percent (25 for 31), 22nd. Rangers - Power play: 0.0 percent (0 for 26), 30th. Penalty killing: 88.9 percent (32 for 36), 7th.
GOALTENDERS: Mighty Ducks - Giguere (1-5-0, 3.14 GAA); Gerber (1-1-1, 1, 1.30). Rangers - Dunham (2-1-2, 1, 1.74); Jussi Markkanen (0-1-0, 5.00).
2002-03 SEASON SERIES: Rangers, 2-0.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 21; Rangers, 6-2. At Anaheim, Calif., Bobby Holik and Pavel Bure each scored twice to lead the Rangers.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Mighty Ducks - 1-2-0-0 on the road; Rangers - 2-0-2-0 at home.