The New York Rangers are down 0-2 to the Boston Bruins, following their humbling 5-2 loss in Game 2 and with the action shifting to Madison Square Garden. They’ve been here before: Starting a series slowly, needed a big effort in a Game 3 to either take control or find new life in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
They were down 0-2 to the Washington Capitals this season and back in 2011. Last postseason, in their run to the conference finals, the Rangers were 1-1 against the Ottawa Senators, Capitals and New Jersey Devils heading into the third game.
What happened in Game 3 in each of those series?
Henrik Lundqvist happened, that’s what. The Rangers goalie is 5-0 in his last five Game 3 appearances, with the Rangers going on to win three of those series.
He’s the King of Thirds: Lundqvist has a 1.01 goals-against average in his last five Game 3’s with a .966 save percentage and two shutouts, facing 177 shots – much better than his career average playoff numbers.
So yeah, the Rangers are in good hands. But the question isn’t about Lundqvist’s hands entering Game 3.
He landed awkwardly when trying to cover a rebound of a Daniel Paille shot in the third period of Game 2, with word arriving after the game that Lundqvist injured his shoulder on the play.
From the Bergen Record, Hank provided an update:
Lundqvist’s shoulder did not appear to bother him at all during Monday’s practice. At one point, he stretched out and fully extended his left arm along the ice to make a save on Rick Nash.
He said skipping practice Monday was not an option he considered. "Everybody’s sore," Lundqvist said. "It’s the playoffs. You can’t just sit out [because] it’s hurting a little bit. It happens and you just have to make sure you do the right things to keep it good."
Lundqvist has been outplayed by Tuukka Rask in this series after having one of the best 7-game stretches of his career in the win against the Capitals. Game 3 has been very good to him, for sure; but can the Rangers generate enough offense so that another clutch effort from the King in a Game 3 isn’t squandered?