Ducks end road trip with victory over Rangers

Everett Merrill, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- Kyle Palmieri grew up a New York Rangers fan, living on a farm in New Jersey, not too far away from Madison Square Garden.
On Monday night, the Anaheim Ducks right wing played a big role in turning back his boyhood idols, scoring a goal in Anaheim's 2-1 win over the Rangers at a sold-out Madison Square Garden.
Palmieri scored what would become the decisive goal for the Ducks (12-3-1), a second-period strike that gave them a 2-0 advantage. Right wing Corey Perry provided Anaheim with a 1-0 lead with his team-leading ninth goal in the first period.
Defenseman Michael Del Zotto scored the lone Rangers goal late in the second period.
"I had a lot of family and friends here tonight and people who supported me on my way up," said Palmieri, a first-round pick by the Ducks in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft out of Notre Dame. "My dad was a Rangers fan and I just took to them.
"I loved the atmosphere here."
The win ended an eight-game road trip for the Ducks, their longest of the season. They went 5-2-1 on the journey, outscoring their opponents by a slim 22-21 margin.
"We battled and we grinded, that's the story of our road trip," Palmieri said. "Some games we had great starts, some games we had terrible starts but in the end the two points is all that matters."
The victory also moved Anaheim (25 points) ahead of San Jose (23) for first place in the Pacific Division.
The loss snapped the Rangers' (6-8-0) three-game win streak.
The Rangers had two power-play chances in the last 5:30 of the game, but failed to convert, getting just two shots on goal.
Anaheim goalie Frederik Andersen turned aside 32 shots to earn his fourth career win without a loss. The 24-year-old Andersen has allowed just five goals in four games.
Andersen's biggest stops of the night occurred with 5:17 left in the game when he thwarted left wing Benoit Pouliot's backhander and left wing Chris Kreider's breakaway backhander at 6:30.
"Sometimes goalies have to come through," said Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau. "We started playing like we didn't want to lose instead of going after them, which I think we did for most of the third period.
"But that's when you need your goalie to come up big and all our goalies have done that all year."
Anaheim managed only 12 shots in the first two periods, but led 2-1.
Trailing 2-0, the Rangers broke through against Andersen at 18:36 of the second period. Del Zotto pounced on a loose puck in front of the Anaheim net and used a screen of three Ducks to score his first goal of the season.
Rangers center Brad Richards' inability to clear the puck out of his zone led to the Ducks' second goal of the first period. Anaheim defenseman Francois Beauchemin skated just inside the blue line to control the puck, then sent it over to Palmieri, who drilled it over Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist's left shoulder from the right circle for his fourth goal this season.
"They (Anaheim) are a good team and they showed it tonight," said Rangers coach Alain Vigneault. "They don't give you a lot and they play tight.
"In the third, we had a number of opportunities that I would have liked us to be able to generate."
Perry gave the Ducks a quick 1-0 lead at 17:31 of the first period when he lifted the puck over Lundqvist in front of the crease. Perry's initial shot from in front was stopped by Lundqvist, but the Anaheim right wing got to the rebound before it was cleared away, recording his team-leading ninth goal of the season.
Left wing Dustin Penner and defenseman Luca Sbisa received the assists.
The Rangers were 0-for-1 on the power play in the first period, taking just two shots.
New York received a boost with the return of its captain, right wing Ryan Callahan, who hadn't played since breaking his thumb blocking a shot in a 2-0 win against the Washington Capitals Oct. 16.
He recorded an assist, six hits and blocked two shots in 18:43 of ice time.
Callahan missed the beginning of the season following offseason shoulder surgery and was playing in his fifth game when he broke the thumb. He has three goals in those five games, with two of them coming on the power play.
The Ducks (12-3-1) knocked off the Rangers 6-0 Oct. 10.
NOTES: Ducks D Luca Sbisa made his season debut Monday after missing the season's first 15 games with a sprained left ankle. He had three hits and an assist in the first period. ... Ducks rookie D Hampus Lindholm entered the game tied for sixth in the league in plus/minus (+11). ... Since the start of the 2010-11 season, Anaheim RW Corey Perry has scored 25 game-winning goals, the most in the NHL in that span. ... Henrik Lundqvist is the only active goalie with a streak of eight straight 20-plus win seasons. ... The Rangers have lost 33 man-games to injury. ... LW Rick Nash has missed 10 games with a concussion.

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