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Lundqvist reigns supreme in Game 7 once again

May 13, 2014, 11:33 PM EST

Henrik Lundqvist AP

PITTSBURGH – On a night when the New York Rangers needed Henrik Lundqvist to be at his best, they got it and more.

Lundqvist stopped 35 shots to lead the Rangers to a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 7 and send them to the Eastern Conference Final.

For Lundqvist, success like this in a Game 7 has become almost routine. After losing his first Game 7 in 2009 to the Washington Capitals, he’s won five in a row. Four of the five wins came by a 2-1 score. You might say the Rangers feel confident with him in goal.

“We thrive on the opportunity,” Rangers defenseman Marc Staal said. “You get into those type of games, Game 7, you just get excited for it. You play well, you win the game. You don’t, you’re going home. As much pressure as people might think is on Game 7, I think it’s the opposite. It’s so much fun because it’s going either way.

“And we’ve got Hank – that helps.”

Lundqvist’s effort in sending the Rangers to the next round was well recognized by his teammates, in particular his play in the third period.

“Where they took their game to another level in the third period, our goaltender obviously took his game to another level,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “He was just able to stop a barrage of opportunities and he was the difference in tonight’s game.”

Lundqvist stopped all 13 shots he faced in the third period to help hold down the game for New York.

“That’s an impressive third period,” Rangers forward Brad Richards said. “It’s so tough, especially in a Game 7, when you’re leading by a goal and not trying to play safe. You know they’re going to come with a lot of stuff. It’s great to have him back there. It’s great to be in two Conference Finals in three years with him. It’s a great feeling.”

Lundqvist wasn’t just strong in the final period, he made some saves that left the Penguins hoping for some puck luck. One flurry of stops came with five minutes remaining and found Lundqvist trying to stop the Penguins without his goal stick.

Like most of Pittsburgh’s shots on the night, the puck found its way to the King.

“They were coming hard,” Lundqvist said. “I tried just not to think about the result, not think about the consequences – just see it as a challenge for me to just stay in there and focus on the right thing. It was hard because you know it’s getting closer and closer. You need some bounces, for sure, but we earned them tonight by working really hard.

“I was so tired in the end but it was a great feeling when you know it’s a done deal. We did it, we came back from a 3-1. We did really well, we stayed in the moment. We just took it period by period and it helped us get back into this.”

The biggest part of the Rangers coming back from that series deficit was Lundqvist’s incredible play throughout the series. He finished the series with a .940 save percentage and allowed three total goals in the final three games.

With a few days to rest before the Conference Finals, he’s thinking of unplugging from hockey until it’s time to prepare.

“I don’t know I might take a break from hockey and not watch anything and not listen to anything,” Lundqvist said. “We’ll see. It’s been so intense the last couple of days and it’s really important to reload physically and mentally. We’ll see if I’ll watch. I’ve been watching a couple games so I know how they play and I faced them in the regular season so I know what’s coming.”

Safe to say the King has earned a bit of rest.

  1. highpowered350 - May 13, 2014 at 11:35 PM

    LGR !!!

    • highpowered350 - May 13, 2014 at 11:37 PM

      whoops (meant this)

  2. dabutcha114 - May 14, 2014 at 12:01 AM

    Bow down Cindy your just got schooled by the King.

  3. dabutcha114 - May 14, 2014 at 12:03 AM

    Malkin should have kept his trap shut. Making guarantees like the great Captain MM. Go back to Russian and shave your wife’s back

    • billiam55 - May 14, 2014 at 1:54 AM

      lolol

  4. bostonstranglah72 - May 14, 2014 at 12:14 AM

    Have the Penguins released a statement on why Cindy didn’t play in this series? Oh that’s right… INVISIBLE! Two years in a row the so-called “stars” on the team crapped down their shin pads in the big game. Pierre McGuire won’t be able to wash Cindy’s jock anymore. I guess Subban will have to do. Blow it up Mario! Fraud team.

  5. cityofchampions27 - May 14, 2014 at 12:14 AM

    Stole the series. Bottom line.

  6. 950003cups - May 14, 2014 at 1:01 AM

    Good bye Fleury! Freaking choke artist!

    • goodolejr - May 14, 2014 at 9:29 AM

      Really? You’re blaming Fleury?! How about the superstars that are supposed to show up in these big games and you know, score goals? I can’t blame you for forgetting about those guys though, nobody knew they were playing either. 1 goal in each of the last 3 games…I guess if Fleury wasn’t such a choke artist, he would have scored some goals, huh?!

  7. billiam55 - May 14, 2014 at 1:55 AM

    and thats why we ranger fans call him “The King”.

    guy deserves a cup!

  8. barkar942 - May 14, 2014 at 2:19 AM

    And two of those three goals went past Hank off of Girardi’s stick and Klines leg.

  9. endusersolutions2013 - May 14, 2014 at 5:15 AM

    Hank did well, another less revered goalie did well, it at least equal measure. I’m not saying Corey Crawford was better, as I saw none of HL’s saves. Corey C was HUGE for the Hawks. Kane had the OT winner again, but Hawks don’t make it to OT without Corey shutting down the Wild (.971 save %?)

    This is actually not intended as a homer comment in any way ahape of form. 5 of he 6 teams left are getting excedllent goalie play from their staarter (may have a bad game along the way, or in Quick’s case, 3). But goalie play has been a key factor.

    Corey and Hank. JQ . Tuka. Carey P. Would any of their teams still be alive if they were not playing really well?

  10. sillysporty - May 14, 2014 at 9:32 AM

    Bye bye pens crysby gone love it

  11. doknyc - May 14, 2014 at 10:22 AM

    kinda good for the blueshirts that the NHL did nothing to suspend crosby for his “accidental” stick into Moore’s crotch, otherwise, the pens wouldvve had to use a different forward, who might have actually contributed to the game…

    looking forward to an original six conf final…. go rangers!

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