- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 12, 2009

NASHVILLE, TENN. (AP) - Henrik Lundqvist reached 30 wins for the fourth straight season, Sean Avery scored his first goal since returning to the Rangers, and Scott Gomez had three points in New York’s 4-2 victory over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night.

Lundqvist made 19 saves in his return from a one-game absence caused by a stomach ailment that has bothered him for about 10 days. He has earned at least 30 wins in each of his NHL seasons.

Avery scored his fourth goal but first since rejoining the Rangers last week after he was waived by the Dallas Stars. Scott Gomez had a goal and two assists, and Marc Staal and Fredrik Sjostrom also scored for New York.

Shea Weber and J.P. Dumont netted the Predators’ goals.

Avery gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead 3:38 into the first period. Gomez’s shot bounced off the back boards and the puck slid across the crease. Avery skated in from the right side and tapped it into the open side of the net to beat goalie Dan Ellis.

Weber tied it with nine minutes left in the period with a power-play goal as he fired a wrist shot from a few feet inside the blue line. The puck bounced off Lundqvist’s glove and into the net.

Dumont gave the Predators their first lead with 5:06 remaining in the first. He tried to center the puck from the left circle but his pass bounced off the skate of Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi and into the net.

The Rangers made it 2-2 at 3:01 of the second period. Ellis cleared the puck from behind the goal, but Ryan Callahan intercepted the pass and fired a shot from the left side. Gomez got position in front and directed the puck into the net.

The Rangers took a 3-2 lead with 2:31 left in the second. With several players scrambling for a rebound in front of the net, Staal tapped the puck past Ellis.

Sjostrom added a short-handed goal 7:59 into the third period.

Notes:@ Weber’s 18th goal tying the franchise record for most in a season by a defenseman. … Lundqvist is the first Rangers goalie to earn 30 wins in four straight seasons. … Ellis made his first career start against the Rangers.

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