Rangers Offense Explodes As Lundqvist Officially Becomes King
If you sit quietly, you can hear the collective sigh of the Blueshirts as they exploded for 8 goals in Ottawa. In the aftermath of the offensive surge, Henrik Lundqvist notched win 302, surpassing NYR legend Mike Richter for the all time lead in victories.
New York had a rough start when they went down 1-0 on a botched coverage play that allowed a blast from Mike Hoffman to beat Lundqvist. Then Carl Hagelin took a questionable hooking penalty, that gave everyone watching the sense this may be a bad night. Instead, Rick Nash blew past the Senator defender and came in alone on Lehner. He made no fancy moves, opting to use his world class wrist shot to even the game shorthanded.
The Senators would score on a power play later in the first to end the period up 2-1. Whatever was said in the locker room must have worked because the Rangers erupted for 4 goals in the 2nd period, kicked off by the game’s first star Derick Brassard. In the last 5 minutes of the period Pouliot, J. Moore and McDonagh all found the back of the net.
The third was certainly sloppy and Milan Michalek gave the Rangers some pause, but any hope was quickly vanquished when Derek Stepan put one in off his skate that Toronto upheld for a 6-3 lead. Brassard would add another to finish with 2 goals and 1 assist. The final tally was an empty netter by Rick Nash for his 22nd of the season.
8 goals! A season high.
While this wasn’t Henrik’s best performance, he was there to notch the saves when the Rangers needed them. None more important than the big diving stop soon after Michalek’s goal.
Lundqvist was all smile in his post game interview, “I still remember my first game at the Garden and so many great memories.” When John Giannone asked him about what it means to pass Mike Richter, the King gushed when he answered. “I still remember the first time I met him, I was 18 years old and drafted by the Rangers and I walked into the Rangers locker room. He was not playing that night. It was just a great moment for me. An inspiration to meet a guy like that who was so humble and so accomplished and really a role model for a young goalie like me.” Henrik’s admiration for Richter concluded with “It’s just a class act. It’s just fun to be part of that group now.” That group Hank is referring to are the NYR goalie greats like Lorne Chabot, Gump Worsley, Eddie Giacomin and of course, Mike Richter.
MSG continued with their award winning coverage by having Mike Richter on via telephone. Richter spoke in amazement of Lundqvist “I’m in awe of what he’s done in such a short career, really. 9 years he’s been able to get right past Eddie, past myself. He’s really an impressive player and fun to watch.” Mike Richter knows impressive as his run in 1994 will forever be the benchmark of NYR goalie greatness.
So on a night where the Rangers score 8 and Lundqvist passes Mike Richter, they also leap frog the Blue Jackets who lost and sit 1 point behind the Flyers for 2nd. On Friday the Blueshirts will face those Blue Jackets in a huge contest. The Rangers have a dirty dozen games left to make the playoffs and it will take more efforts like this to get it done.