Search This Blog

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Good is not enough versus Lundqvist

They play a pretty darned good road game.
They forechecked like crazy.
They hemmed the New York Rangers in their zone for long periods of time, especially in the second period.
They got a sharp, at times spectacular, performance from their 40-year-old netminder Martin Brodeur.
And they're down 1-0 in the Eastern Conference finals.

That's what happens when the guy in the bulky pads at the other end of the ice pitching a shutout is named Henrik Lundqvist.
The man often referred to in these parts as King Henrik turned aside all 21 New Jersey shots he faced Monday night to lead the Rangers to a 3-0 victory.
The game that was scoreless through two periods and actually appeared to be tilting in favor of the Devils until the first minute of the third period. Just 53 seconds into the final frame, defenseman Dan Girardi took a neat back pass from rookie Chris Kreider and blasted home what would turn out to be the winner.
But that play's significance is tied entirely to the play of Lundqvist, especially in the second period when the Devils had the Rangers on the ropes.
During one shorthanded sequence, New Jersey captain Zach Parise had three solid whacks at the goal from the side of the net and Lundqvist turned them all aside.
"He was really good in the second," head coach John Tortorella said postgame of his franchise netminder.
"That was a really important sequence."

There is a certain sameness to all of the Rangers' playoff games, a certain pattern, and at the heart of that pattern is Lundqvist.
For the 14th straight game this spring, the Rangers did not manage to score more than three goals. For the 10th time this spring, the Rangers allowed two or fewer goals.
"I thought both goalies played well," offered Devils head coach Pete DeBoer. "Again, I think whoever was going to score first tonight was going to win. And they threw a point shot at the net that found a way through. We threw a lot of those at the net, too, and didn't find one through."
There was a lot of discussion heading into this conference final about the Rangers' stamina both mentally and physically based on having to endure two seven-game sets to get here.
Tortorella chafes at the notion his team might be tired, but there is no question that part of their freshness comes from Lundqvist. He invigorates them, allows them to play through rough patches without apparent damage.
"We worked really hard," Lundqvist said. "It's always tough to come from a Game 7, so emotional and everything around it and you start over."
In the second period -- as was the case in Game 7 against Washington -- the Rangers seemed to lose their way, failing to clear pucks, allowing chances and feeling the pressure but in the end not flinching.
"As a goalie you always have to step up when the team needs you, not when you feel good and you have your moments," Lundqvist explained. "A lot of times it's when the teams' struggling you have to step up. It's fun too, to be there and try to make the difference sometimes when the team is going through a tough stretch. And then they will bail me out maybe when I'm struggling a little bit."
Forgive us for arching our eyebrows over the "when I'm struggling a bit" line because, well, it just doesn't seem like that's going to happen.

No comments:

Post a Comment