Khabibulin, the NHL’s highest-paid goalie, stopped 30 shots and Tyler Arnason scored a power-play goal 1:20 into overtime to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers on Wednesday night.
“The first star of the game was Khabibulin,” Arnason said. “He kept us in it, playing against a good team. We found a way to win it in the end.”
With Martin Rucinksy serving a double minor for high sticking, Arnason drove to the net and fired a shot between the legs of goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
Khabibulin gave Arnason a chance to win it by stopping many prime, close-in chances in the second and third periods. Khabibulin, who signed a four-year, $27 million contract with the Blackhawks in August, turned in his most impressive effort since leaving the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning this summer.
Arnason’s goal was his first since Nov. 2, a span of 14 games.
“I haven’t been scoring lately, so I tried not to aim it too much,” Arnason said. “I just shot it as hard as I possibly could and it found a way in.”
The Rangers were hurt by their power play, failing on all nine chances.
“That’s not what we want to happen against that team because the power play is very dangerous,” Khabibulin said. “But I think our penalty killing did a very good job and we scored a goal on the power play.”
The Rangers were impressed with Khabibulin, but not with their own efforts during manpower advantages.
“I don’t think we brought the puck up with any purpose or intensity,” New York coach Tom Renney said. “As you get frustrated with the power play and things go on, you start to try to manufacture things that aren’t there.”
Neither team generated sustained offensive pressure in a scoreless first period.
The Rangers enjoyed 3:49 of consecutive power-play time late in the frame but had only one good chance during the span when Steve Rucchin hit the right post.
“It’s tough the way we played,” said Lundqvist, who finished with 17 saves. “I think we should have had the two points. I think we had our best chances 5-on-5, but Khabibulin was good in the net, especially in the third.”
Sharp had a point-blank chance with 3 minutes left in the period, but was stopped by Lundqvist.
Prucha opened the scoring at 8:53 of the second.
Pressured by New York’s Michael Nylander along the right wing boards, Chicago defenseman Jim Vandermeer passed the puck onto Prucha’s stick just inside the Blackhawks blue line. Prucha cruised in alone and fired a shot past Khabibulin.
Spacek tied it 1-all just seconds later. Trailing in late on a rush, Spacek took Matthew Barnaby’s cross-ice feed and beat Lundqvist from the left circle.
Khabibulin used a right pad save to stop New York’s Ryan Hollweg on a breakaway with 7:45 left in the second.
The Rangers then wasted a four-minute power play late in the period when Khabibulin was given a double minor for slashing and roughing New York’s Jason Ward.
Khabibulin stopped Prucha’s point-blank chance 3:10 into the third after Prucha slipped around the Chicago defense.
He stopped Prucha again and Ward on close-in chances about 8 minutes into the third. With 6:09 left in regulation, Khabibulin made a point-blank toe save on Tom Poti.
New York G Kevin Weekes dressed as Lundqvist’s backup after missing four games with an injured left ankle. … Rangers forwards Ville Nieminen and Marcel Hossa, and defenseman Maxim Kondratiev were healthy scratches. … Chicago D Adrian Aucoin missed his second straight game with a groin injury. RW Pavel Vorobiev sat out his fourth straight with an ankle injury. … Chicago D Anton Babchuk played his first NHL game this season after being recalled from Norfolk of the AHL on Monday. … Chicago D Jassen Cullimore injured a groin in the second period and didn’t return.