NEW YORK — Everything Jonathan Quick did for the Los Angeles Kings in Game 3, Henrik Lundqvist answered for the New York Rangers in Game 4 as they staved off elimination with a 2-1 win at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers and Lundqvist have a knack for bringing out their best when facing elimination. New York is 11-2 in their last 13 playoffs games when their season is on the line. Lundqvist has started every single one of them, posting two shutouts and a .959 save-percentage. He made 40 saves Wednesday night, including 15 in the final period.
This postseason alone, Lundqvist is 5-0 in elimination games and hasn’t allowed more than one goal in each of those games.
“He’s a great goalie,” said Rangers forward Martin St. Louis. “He’s a big part of our success. Sometimes he lets in more than one, but he’s human. You can’t expect him to stop some of those bounces. For us, obviously, we believe in him. He’s a big reason why we’re here.”
Through three games, the Rangers were lamenting the fact that the bounces in the series weren’t going their way. In Game 4, aside from Dan Girardi’s stick breaking, which led to Dustin Brown scoring the only LA goal, New York benefited from two pucks dying on the goalline then being cleared away after squeaking by Lundqvist.
“I've been in the game a long time to know that sometimes the hockey gods are there,” said Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault. “They were there tonight.”
Down 0-3 in the series, the Rangers were taking the “one game at a time” approach. Given Lundqvist’s success in elimination games, their Game 4 win will inject some life and confidence in them as the series shifts back to Staples Center.
“When everything is on the line, you just have to challenge yourself the right way, I guess, as a team and personally,” said Lundqvist. “You have to go out there and leave everything out there and be extremely focused. One mistake and the season is over. You're definitely aware of that.”
LA outshot New York 15-1 in the third period, but Lundqvist made sure that the Rangers’ season wasn’t going to be over and a Kings’ celebration would be delayed.
“We didn't want to see the Cup coming out on our home ice tonight,” he said. “Yeah, just the thought of it makes me feel sick.”
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