Lundqvist is doing what he does best for the Blueshirts
Names like Ken Dryden, Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur, Dominik Hasek, Jacques Plante, Terry Sawchuk, and others all stick out due to what they accomplished in their Hall of Fame (Brodeur will no doubt be a first ballot inductee) careers. For the New York Rangers, however, it is Henrik Lundqvist who has gone above and beyond to get the job done when it matters most.
Heading into Friday night's Game 5 in Pittsburgh, the Rangers found themselves down three games to one in their second round series with the Penguins. Two days later, Lundqvist and the Rangers find themselves tied at three games apiece with Game 7 on tap for Tuesday night.
Going into Game 5 two nights ago, the Blueshirts were in more than a tough position. This was a team that had dropped three straight games and had looked horrible in doing so.
That all changed when Lundqvist stepped up his game in a big way. While the Blueshirts managed to win Game 5 by a score of 5-1, that victory would not have been possible had Lundqvist not played the way he did.
In that game, Lundqvist stopped 31 of 32 Penguins' shots and was there to make the big stops when his team needed one. The "King" was especially good in the second period as he stopped 14 of 15 shots and allowed the Rangers go into the dressing room with a 4-1 leading into the game's final frame.
Going into tonight's Game 6 at Madison Square Garden, the pressure was once again on Lundqvist to deliver the goods as the team looked to tie up the series to force a Game 7 on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh. After the team's 3-1 victory tonight, it is mission accomplished for Lundqvist and his hockey club.
Much like he did in Game 5, Lundqvist came up with the big saves when his team needed them the most. In the second period, Lundqvist came up big with two breakaway stops, something he has struggled to do both in this postseason and the regular season, and those saves allowed the Rangers to go into the third period with a 3-1 lead.
In the third period, Lundqvist did what he had to do to preserve's his team's crucial victory. The Rangers were badly outplayed in the period, but Lundqvist kept the Penguins at bay stopping 11 shots in a scoreless third period.
In all, Lundqvist stopped 36 of 37 shots and was named the game's second star. While he did get some help from Martin St. Louis (one goal), Carl Hagelin (one goal), and Derick Brassard (one goal), it was Lundqvist's strong play between the pipes that won them the hockey game and has the team more than alive going into Game 7.
In the past few postseasons, Lundqvist has been clutch when his team faces elimination. He is once again doing the same this year as not only did Lundqvist help his team win Game 5, but he was even better in Game 6 and led his team to the series-tying victory.
While Game 7 is a toss up, with Lundqvist playing some of his best hockey of the year for his team, the Rangers have more than a good chance to shock the Penguins and win Game 7 to move onto the Eastern Conference Finals for the second time in three years.