Lundqvist Shines As The Rangers Take Penguins To Seven

Henrik Lundqvist was brilliant in game 6 (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Henrik Lundqvist was brilliant in game 6 (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Heart. That’s the one word to best describe what the Rangers have shown since they imploded in Game 4 of this series. 

St. Louis’ Heart

Regardless, if people believe it was sparked by the sudden passing of Marty St. Louis’ mom, the Rangers have elevated their game. In reality, what you are seeing is the true character of this team. Sometimes, it’s only when tragedy arises, that your mettle shines through.

After the game, the tradition in the Rangers’ locker room is for the last game MVP winner to select the next. Marty St. Louis who won it for his efforts in game 5, elected on Mother’s Day to award the “Broadway Hat” to the entire team. He stated how appreciative he was of the effort, how proud he was to be a Ranger and to believe.

All Hail The King

Even though MSL was named the game’s first star, the true game MVP was goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. On a night of high emotions from both sides, Lundqvist was calm, cool and collected. His focus was uncanny and his tracking of the puck was the best I’ve seen all post-season.

His breakaway saves (3 in total) were as important or if not more so, than any Rangers goal scored. It’s amazing how he finds this extra gear when the Rangers backs are against the wall. It makes performances like games 3 and 4, all the more frustrating. However, the Rangers will only go as far as Henrik can take them. If he has finally zoned in to “King-Mode”, then it’s bad news for the rest of the NHL.

Brass Balls

Another quintessential moment of the Rangers play was Derick Brassard’s goal in the 2nd period. The game was 2-1 NYR at the time with just 5 minutes left in the 2nd. That’s when the NYR’s top line came through. Brassard’s top of the crease, over Marc Andre Fleury’s prone body, bouncing puck slap in was how the Rangers played all night in a nutshell.

For Brassard, it was his 4th goal of this series and his tenacity and speed are becoming way too much for the Penguins to handle. If NY’s other stars can find another gear, it would bode well in game 7.

Looking Ahead

The Rangers are playing with a whole new level of confidence. They simply have found another gear and a style of hockey the Penguins are having trouble with. If NY can score the first goal in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, will the Penguins simply implode? It’s highly unlikely that a team which boasts the players like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will simply wilt.

You can expect everything you saw in game 6 and multiply it by 2. Penguin great, Mario Lemieux sought out Sidney Crosby after the game. You can be sure that his pep talk put the Penguins captain in a better mindset for game 7.

Still, it will be up to the Rangers to continue to play him hard and let his whinier side come out. More importantly, it’s up to Henrik Lundqvist to continue his elite level of goaltending play. The King has stopped 67 of 69 shots for a staggering save percentage of .971! It is that type of goaltending that the Rangers will need to not only beat the Penguins for the first time in franchise history, but to also overcome a 3-1 deficit for the first time as well.

Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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