Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Lundqvist Continues His Role as Blueshirts' Zero Hero

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Lundqvist Continues His Role as Blueshirts' Zero Hero

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON - As Henrik Lundqvist skated off the Verizon Center ice following Friday night's Game 5 overtime loss here, the Rangers goaltender smashed his stick over the boards in anger.

From that moment, the Rangers were on the verge of elimination in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal against the Washington Capitals. From that moment, Lundqvist also appeared determined to not let another shot get past him.

And he didn't - for the rest of the series.

Lundqvist made 35 saves Monday night to post his second consecutive shutout in a 5-0 Game 7 victory over the Capitals that pushed the Rangers into the conference semifinals against the Boston Bruins.

After Mike Ribeiro scored off the rebound of the ricochet of Karl Alzner's left point shot to give the Capitals a 2-1 overtime win Game 5, Lundqvist stopped the last 62 shots he faced in the series, including a 27-save shutout in a 1-0 win in Game 6 on Sunday.

With eight career playoff shutouts, Lundqvist, 31, trails only Mike Richter's nine for the most in Rangers' history. Lundqvist improved to 3-1 in his career in Game 7s and avenged the only loss - a 2-1 defeat at Verizon Center in the 2009 conference quarterfinals.

Lundqvist got a lot of help over the last two games from his teammates, who did a good job limiting the Capitals to outside shots. The defensive job Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi did on Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, who didn't have a goal in the last six games of the series and didn't register a point in the last five, was a huge factor.

Still, Lundqvist made big saves at key moments. A pivotal one Monday night was on Capitals defenseman Mike Green, who streaked in on the right side with 6:50 left in the first period and the game still scoreless.

The Capitals had the early pressure and a goal there would have given them the momentum and fueled the already boisterous home crown.

Instead, the Rangers went the other way on a rush, and Arron Asham blasted a slap shot from the top of the right circle over Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby's glove with 6:41 left in the period to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. …

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