The New York Rangers may have been shut out last night as the Washington Capitals cut the Blueshirts' 2-0 series lead in half, but the primary reason why Broadway is alive and well once again is the 27-year-old Swedish import that currently graces the net for a team that has been historically rich with accomplished netminders, from Eddie Giacomin to Mike Richter.
Henrik Lundqvist has been taking matters into his own hands all season, saving not just shots, but games too, for the seventh-seeded Rangers, who host the Capitals tomorrow night at Madison Square Garden for the fourth game in their best-of-seven series, one that the Rangers currently lead two games to one.
Lundqvist was at his best Saturday afternoon while dueling with 20-year-old Capitals goalie Simeon Varlamov, who was making his first career playoff start and just his seventh career professional appearance in goal. However, the reigning Olympic gold medalist Lundqvist got the better of Washington that day, stopping all 35 shots Washington took as Ryan Callahan's first-period tally held up as the lone score in a 1-0 Ranger win.
However, 36 saves last night wasn't enough for King Henrik and the other Blueshirts as Washington took advantage of defensive miscues to score four against Lundqvist, despite only five shots from the NHL's regular-season goal leader, Alexander Ovechkin. Last night was a harrowing reminder that one man cannot do it all himself, and Rangers coach John Tortorella made sure to rehash it in his postgame press conference, as he stated that the team was "chasing its tail all night long," and that they "can't be watching the puck."
Tomorrow night at the Garden could go a long way in determining the winner of this series one way or another, as the Rangers look to go up 3-1, and Washington attempts to return home with a tie, thereby making the series a de facto best-of-three.