NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — The “King” indeed.
If goaltender Henrik Lundqvist plays this well throughout the postseason, the Rangers may just end up wearing the NHL crown.
Lundqvist was sharp early in the Game 1 win over Ottawa, stopping Jason Spezza on a partial breakaway and then turning aside Jim O’Brien, who weaved his way through the New York defense before getting off an in-close drive that was knocked away.
His only blemishes came in the third period. Daniel Alfredsson wrecked his shutout bid at 10:05, and Erik Condra made it 4-2 with 2:19 left. Lundqvist finished with 30 saves.
“I’m glad for a good start for me and for the team,” the goalie said. “You work all year to be here and you need to grab the opportunity to enjoy it and to push yourself to play as well as you can.”
The Senators dominated play throughout the second period, but a couple of late lapses turned a tight game into a virtual runaway.
Even with three straight power plays that spanned the first and second periods, the Senators were frustrated by either Lundqvist or players in front of him who dived to block shots from ever getting through.
“We were looking for this start,” said Lundqvist. “I thought we played really good tonight. In the second period, they were coming very hard.”
Ottawa kept up constant pressure in the New York end during the second period. It just didn’t produce any results. The Senators hemmed in the Rangers several times and forced a handful of icing calls. It got so bad that coach John Tortorella was forced to call timeout to give his guys a breather after back-to-back icings.
“That was a huge point in the game. That really helped propel us to the win,” said teammate Dan Girardi. “That’s when we needed (Lundqvist) to be big for us and that’s what he’s been doing all year.”
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