CHICAGO (AP) — The fast start for the New York Rangers was erased by the Chicago Blackhawks in a couple minutes during the first part of the second period.
Playing the Stanley Cup champions in their building, Henrik Lundqvist and Co. came up with an encouraging response.
Carl Hagelin scored the tiebreaking goal in the third period to lead the Rangers to a 3-2 victory over the Blackhawks on Wednesday night.
"We worked so hard, so this is a big one for us," said Lundqvist, who had 35 saves. "Playing such a good team and the position we're in, we're desperate for points and wins, so just a great feeling the way we played and got rewarded in the end with that big goal."
The Rangers (22-20-3), who began the day in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, improved to 6-2-1 in their last nine games. They were coming off a 4-3 shootout loss at home against Columbus.
Asked if the victory over Chicago could be a tipping point for New York, coach Alain Vigneault responded: "All I know is beating the Stanley Cup champions in this building is not an easy task."
Jonathan Toews and Brandon Bollig scored in the second period for Chicago (29-8-9), which had recorded at least one point in a season-high 10 games. Coupled with Sunday's shootout loss against San Jose, the Blackhawks lost consecutive home games for the second time this season.
It was Chicago's first regulation loss since it was blown out at Toronto, falling 7-3 on Dec. 14.
"We've got too many guys right now that aren't contributing to that level we saw most of the season," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said.
Marc Staal started the winning sequence with a long slap shot that was stopped by Corey Crawford, who also got in front of Hagelin's first rebound attempt. But Hagelin stayed with the play and flipped the puck into the open right side with 5:57 left.
It was Hagelin's fourth winning goal of the season, tops on the team. He also is tied for the team lead with 11 goals overall.
"Lately, we have a lot of confidence and try not to get too frustrated," Hagelin said. "Some games the puck goes in and other days it doesn't. But I think when you're creating chances you stay positive."
Brad Richards and Mats Zuccarello also scored for New York, which earned its first win in Chicago since a 3-2 victory on Jan. 16, 2009.
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