New York, NY (Sports Network) - Scott Gomez notched the game-winner early in the second period and Henrik Lundqvist turned aside 18 shots, as the New York Rangers edged the Minnesota Wild, 2-1, at Madison Square Garden.
Nikolai Zherdev finished with a goal and an assist for the Rangers, who have won eight of their last 11 games. New York moved into a tie with idle Pittsburgh for sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Marian Gaborik lit the lamp for Minnesota, which has dropped six of eight. Niklas Backstrom was saddled with the loss despite making 28 saves. The Wild began the night one point out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the cluttered Western Conference.
New York grabbed a 1-0 lead with 4.4 seconds remaining in the first period on Zherdev's 22nd goal of the season. With time winding down and the teams skating 4-on-4, Zherdev held the puck at the left side of the enemy cage and from a nearly impossible angle managed to elevate a shot over the sprawled netminder.
Playing in his second game since December 23 and just the eighth of the season because of chronic groin pain, Gaborik knotted the score 1:31 into the middle stanza, redirecting Marek Zidlicky's shot behind Lundqvist. Gaborik had the game of his life in the last meeting between these clubs, registering five goals and an assist in Minnesota's 6-3 triumph on December 20, 2007.
Gomez answered for the Blueshirts 53 seconds later, firing a wrister from the slot that beat Backstrom on the glove side.
Minnesota pressed for the equalizer in the third period, but a slashing penalty to Wild defenseman Kim Johnsson in the closing moments effectively ended any chance at a comeback.