The Rangers rose to the occasion and beat a more talented opponent. They will sit and wait for Boston or Montreal to emerge as their opponents in the Eastern Conference finals.
Fans have grown accustomed to Henrik Lundqvist’s breathtaking heroics. But those final five minutes Tuesday may have been the best hockey he’s ever played.
The horn sounded and Lundqvist lifted his arms in a mixture of joy and exhaustion. Hey, nobody said carrying a team back from the brink was going to be easy, even for the goaltender his Rangers teammates call “King.”
Henrik Lundqvist set an NHL record with his fifth straight Game 7 victory, making 35 saves to lift the New York Rangers to a 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night and earn a spot in the Eastern Conference finals.
Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist has been fined $5,000 for emptying his water bottle onto Sidney Crosby while the Pittsburgh Penguins’ captain was involved in a scrum in front of the New York net.
Looking overmatched and overwhelmed while falling behind 3-1 to the Penguins four games into the Eastern Conference semis, it’s the Rangers who head to Game 7 on Tuesday night looking like the team ready to move on.
“I always squirt it when I go off the ice,” Lundqvist told reporters. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Derick Brassard scored twice, including New York’s first power-play goal in 10 games, and the Rangers assayed alive with a 5-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Friday night.
“They’re a good team and I don’t want to take any credit away from how well they’re playing right now,” Vigneault said. “They’re making it real hard on us.”
Every person inside the Garden deserves a full refund for being subjected to the sloppy, out-of-sync, uninspired hockey produced by the Rangers.
That series-opening overtime win against the Penguins less than a week ago is now a distant memory as the Rangers have dropped three straight since — including back-to-back losses at MSG.
The King has been good for three games, but Penguins counterpart Marc-Andre Fleury has gone from shaky question mark to star of the series with shutouts on consecutive days.
The Penguins handed New York three consecutive power play opportunities – and the Blueshirts failed to cash in. What unfolded was the most timid skating any fan has ever seen.
After taking Game 1 in overtime, New York looked very much like a team playing for the fourth time in six days, losing to the Penguins 3-0. And there’s no rest in sight.
The combination of Vigneault’s fresh approach and the natural skill and athleticism possessed by this current group of Rangers means that all the old history between the Pens and Blueshirts can be thrown out the window.