May 9, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) makes a save against Pittsburgh Penguins center Joe Vitale (46) as defenseman Dan Girardi (5) defends during the third period in game five of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Rangers won 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Henrik Lundqvist is the key to a comeback

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

 

At the time of the post, the New York Rangers are down 3-2 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals going into game six this Sunday, Mother’s Day at Madison Square Garden. If the Rangers are looking to complete their comeback against the Pittsburgh Penguins, they’re going to need Henrik Lundqvist to be even better than usual.

Let’s see a flashback for a second: last year in the 2013 playoffs, the Rangers found themselves down 3-2 in their opening round series against the Washington Capitals going into game six on Mother’s Day at Madison Square Garden. Lundqvist stood out in a 1-0 shutout victory which immediately carried over to game seven the next night with another shutout victory.

Henrik Lundqvist seems to be an expert at staving off elimination for the Rangers. According to the NHL’s public relations department; after last night’s win Lundqvist improved to 8-2 with .953 save percentage, 1.38 goals against average in his last 10 games facing elimination. Last night, Lundqvist allowed only one goal and had a .969 save percentage.

We’ve seen it before in these Stanley Cup Playoffs, and we’ve seen it before from the New York Rangers. This year, we saw Jonathan Quick lead his team to four straight victories after losing the first three to the San Jose Sharks. In the 2013 playoffs, we saw the Rangers come back after having their backs against the wall down 3-2 in the series against the Capitals. In the 2012 playoffs, we saw the Rangers come back from a 3-2 deficit against the Ottawa Senators to win that series. The key to climbing out of those holes and winning those series was Lundqvist’s stellar play. Lundqvist needs to be the anchor of the team and make the “impossible” saves so that the team can possibly advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Rangers have forced a game six and are looking to force a game seven, Lundqvist needs to be a brick wall, like he always seems to be when facing elimination and help them do that.

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