NEW YORK — The New York Rangers keep on winning, even without Henrik Lundqvist. They are just using different methods without their No. 1 goalie.
Martin St. Louis scored two goals and added one in the shootout for the Rangers, who blew a three-goal lead but won for the ninth time in 12 games by beating the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 in a shootout on Feb. 22.
“We talk all the time about trying to find ways,” St. Louis said of the Rangers, 3-5 in shootouts. “Obviously, up three goals, it’s not the way you are trying to get two points. We should have pulled away and closed it out.”
Cam Talbot had been 0-2 in shootouts this season, having allowed four goals on five shots before stopping two of three against Columbus.
“We don’t want to give up any points to the other teams, but to get a win in the shootout was big for us,” said Talbot, who lost in the tiebreaker to Vancouver on9. “The guys bailed me out huge.”
St. Louis scored in the first and second periods as he appears to have broken out of his slump. After going 15 games without a goal, the veteran forward has four goals and two assists in the past four games.
Kevin Hayes added a goal in the first, Derek Stepan had two assists, and Talbot made 27 saves for the Rangers, 9-1-2 in their past 12. St. Louis scored in the first round of the shootout, and Rick Nash had a third-round goal. Talbot then poked the puck away from Cam Atkinson to seal it.
“They’re a very hardworking team and they’re never going to give up,” said Talbot, 6-1-2 since Lundqvist’s injury. “Even though we got a good lead on them in the beginning of the second, you can never let a team like that back in the game.”
The Rangers are only two points behind the Metropolitan Division-leading New York Islanders. They are well aware of their position, they just aren’t dwelling on it.
“We’ve got the standings up in the dressing room, so it’s hard not to see it,” Nash said. “We’re worried about ourselves, worried about our game and our process and our game plan.”
Defenseman David Savard forced overtime by scoring the tying goal — his ninth overall this season — with 4:19 left in regulation on a shot that deflected in off Talbot’s stick.
Marko Dano and Artem Anisimov had second-period goals for Columbus, which went 2-2-1 on a five-game trip. Curtis McElhinney stopped 34 shots through overtime.
Columbus fell behind 3-0 just 1:24 into the second period on St. Louis’ second of the game, but needed only 53 seconds more to begin its comeback.
St. Louis slammed in a pass from defenseman Ryan McDonagh at the right post for his 18th goal. The Blue Jackets then got within 3-1 when Dano netted his second of the season and first in four games since returning from the minor leagues.
Columbus made it a one-goal game with 1:49 left in the second as Anisimov jammed the puck inside the right post. His fourth of the season was upheld by video review. Anisimov, who scored in each of the first two games this season, has two goals in the past six games.
Talbot, who had started eight straight games in place of the injured Lundqvist before getting a rest in New York’s 3-1 win at Buffalo on Feb. 20, was tested early.
He denied Anisimov, after the former Rangers forward got behind the defense 2:15 in, and then stopped a deflected drive by Alexander Wennberg just under a minute later during a power play.
The Rangers then jumped out to a 2-0 lead.
Hayes got it started with help from Carl Hagelin, who made a strong play to keep the puck in at the blue line. Hagelin chipped it to Hayes, who wristed in a rising shot from the high slot at 5:57 for his 11th goal.
St. Louis doubled the lead at 8:06 when he was left alone at the left post. Stepan carried the puck behind the Columbus net and found his linemate unguarded for a stuff shot.
“Not a great start, not a great first period, but still we found a way to work back into it with two great periods by the guys,” McElhinney said. “That’s a really good sign. It’s something to be proud of.
“Of course you want two, but down 3-0 on the road, to fly home with a point, that’s not so bad.”
(IRA PODELL, AP Hockey Writer)