Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Tale Of Two Goalies

Two goalies competed saturday afternoon. One played very well.

The other was perfect.

Through two periods the Devils outshot the Rangers 26-14. And through two both Marty Brodeur and Henrik Lundqvist stopped everything that came their way - with the Devils getting more quality chances and Hank matching them with quality saves.

And so - for the third consecutive game - we started the third period tied.

And from there - Hank was unstoppable - unbeatable - and in a zone that I've never seen him in - a man possessed.

And like game one - the Rangers rose up and grabbed it.

The similarities between contest 1 and 3 were eerie.

Girardi scored the first (again). On the PowerPlay the Ranger defenseman got a free shot in the slot. He started from Brodeur's left but shot it to the chubby old goalie's left. Marty had a pretty good look at it - but could not grab it.

A huge goal - the team scoring first have won each of the last 11 Ranger playoff games. And all the Devil's hard work - all their chances - and all of Brodeur's saves - were for nothing - the Rangers had their 1-0 lead with 16 minutes to play.

The Devils tried to rally back - but Hank - with the stick - the body - the glove - the post - and the crossbar - kept the shutout going.

And then - just like game one - Chris Kreider got the Ranger's 2nd goal. This was a big league deflection - a perfect redirect of a a Ryan McDonagh bullet towards the net with 14 minutes to play.

And the Rangers had a 2-0 lead to protect.

And in the end it was - like game 1 - an empty netter that got us to the final score. This time Ryan Callhan - who hadn't scored a playoff goal in a long while - gave the Rangers their final margin.

Henrik Lundqvist - in the biggest games of his life - is playing his best hockey. He handled a Zack Parise 2-on-1 high shot by staying upright and getting the puck with the handle of his stick. And he dove backwards and stretched out the glove to deny Kovalchuk on a breakaway.

Marty Brodeur played well and had a .906 save percentage. Good game. But that doesn't beat the 1.000 save percentage posted by The King.

Outshot 34-24 - the Rangers outhit the Devils 24-15.

Assists for Callahan (to go with his goal), Fedotenko, Richards, Boyle, and McDonagh.

Now - the Devils have to look themselves in the mirror and wonder if they can do better than 3 goals in 3 games. They have to wonder if they can score on Lundqvist. Because they keep outplaying us - but their 40-year-old goalie can beat ours.

And now - the cup is 6 wins away. And - incredible as it seems - if the Rangers win 6 more home games.....

Think about it.

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