May 3, 2012, 1:05 AM EST
As the third period of Game 3 between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals was winding down, I made this off-hand joke: maybe Wednesday’s first contest would end before the later-starting Nashville Predators-Phoenix Coyotes game. I had no idea how right I’d be as the Rangers needed most of a third OT period to finally win 2-1 via a Marian Gaborik goal.
Multiple overtime hockey is brutal on the nerves for fans and onlookers, but it must be outright savage for players. Goalies must then be the most nervy of the bunch (although they at least tend to see their efforts fall off the least as time goes on). Any bounce can make you the loser, but after seven consecutive playoff OT losses, Henrik Lundqvist finally won.
“Oh my God, I thought it would never end,” Lundqvist said. “This is a special feeling.”
How special? The Rangers haven’t won (or appeared in) a triple overtime game since they beat the Chicago Blackhawks in 1971.
Stephen Whyno captured John Tortorella’s succinct thoughts on Lundqvist:
“He leads us,” Tortorella said.
After seven OT playoff losses, he finally pushed them to victory. (Marian Gaborik helped, too, though.)
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