Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The 60 Minute Penalty Kill - Ranger shut out Ottawa

Out hit 48 to 33 last night in Ottawa. Out shot 39 to 22. That is not Ranger Hockey the way we've seen it all year. No goals from Gaborik, Callahan, Richards, Anisimov or Dubinsky.

But guess what? We won.

And there's just one reason:

Hen-Reek! Hen-Reek! Hen-Reek!

Ranger goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was the difference last night - outclassing the red hot Anderson who stopped 22 of 23 for a .957 save percentage. A great night for the Ottawa goalie - but not great enough against a perfect King.

To put this in perspective - in another playoff series this year the Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fluery has saved less than 80 percent of the shots he's faced. If Hank had done that last night we would be looking at an 8-1 loss instead of a shutout win.

39 shots. And Henrik was perfect.

The Rangers rallied in front of him - playing defense, blocking shots, and keeping the puck out of the defensive zone as much as possible. And towards the end of the third it was the Senators that looked tired, frustrated, and in the end, beaten.

The Rangers only needed one goal last night - which is fortunate because that is all they got.

One lucky bounce off the lively Ottawa boards to Anderson's left put the puck right on the doorstep for Brian Boyle. And the unlikely offensive MVP for this year's playoffs scored his third tally of the series - that's 3 of a total of 7 Ranger playoff goals - to give the Blueshirts their entire offense for the night.

So after two scoreless periods - after Boyle's 3rd period goal - the Rangers settled into what felt like a 12 minute penalty kill. In game 2 the Rangers couldn't hold the lead - but last night on the road they could and did.

Huge win. Ottawa now has to win game 4 at home Wednesday to avoid a 3-1 deficit. The Rangers recaptured home ice (in a series where the home team as lost 2 of 3) and just need 2 of the next 4 to advance.

The game started slowly - looking more like a regular season battle than playoff intensity hockey - but heated up as the game progressed. Chris Krieder, the rookie pressed into service due to Hagelin's suspension, saw his first NHL action, had some rough edges, looked pretty good and nearly scored a goal.

But the glory belonged in small part to Boyle and in large measure to the King. Is there any other NHL goaltender you would want right now in the Ranger net? Hank's our best player and he's playing his best hockey at the perfect time.

He's in the Senator's heads - and in our hearts.

Go Henrik - and Let's Go Rangers.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

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