Sunday, March 25, 2007

Lundqvist The Difference

Rob, you can complain all you want. Personally, I don't care one bit. Not when your team had 10 power plays including two 5-on-3's and couldn't beat our goalie.

I bet you weren't upset when the fans howled until they got that holding call on Big Bird with about 4 minutes to go in regulation. I don't see how Sean Hill or any Fishstick fan can have any beef with the call made in overtime. Not when Jagr was held for as long as he was and kept skating until they were forced to make the call.

Bottom line: Despite carrying the majority of the play to the Rangers in a game they desperately needed to win due to the first playoff tiebreaker, the Islanders only managed to beat Henrik Lundqvist once on an Alexei Yashin redirect.

To be fair, both goalies were outstanding all day (Slick Rick DiPietro had 32 saves) and so were the respective penalty killing units. There was plenty of passion exhibited in one of the best rivalries of what was a very exciting game. One team came away with two points and the other with one.

The Rangers' fifth straight win enabled them to pass the Lightning in the standings for sixth with 87 points. They lead Tampa by a point with each club having six games remaining. Meanwhile, the Islanders tied Carolina and Montreal for eighth. All three clubs have 84 points with the defending champion Hurricanes and Isles holding a valuable game at hand (seven left for each) on the Canadiens. Meanwhile, with their 4-1 home win over Buffalo, the Maple Leafs still lurk behind in 11th with 82 points- two points off the pace with seven to play.

Anything can happen. Ultimately, both the area locals will have to continue to play solid hockey down the stretch if they want to make the playoff cut. The Blueshirts have now beaten the Islanders by a 2-1 score three straight times after losing the first four in the series. The two bitter rivals have one game left which will take place at Nassau Coliseum on April 3rd.

Now for one other bit on the Ranger netminder who has carried his team for over two months back into the playoff picture. With 34 more saves today, Lundqvist continued to roll. He reduced his GAA to 2.30 and lifted his save percentage to .917. Is it time for the Ranger netminder to get some Vezina consideration? Only if he keeps up the sizzling play and gets his team safely into the postseason for a second straight year.

The likeable Swedish goalie had an interesting comment after the big win:

"I want to play in a game where every save means the difference in winning or losing. I love 2-1 games. I hate 6-5 games. It's challenging, and you know you have to stay focused."



Indicative of how locked in the 25 year-old is on the task at hand.

1 comment:

Stevens8204 said...

Lundqvist is going to be many people's Vezina choice next year and its easy to see why...I see a young Brodeur with the reflexes and easy going personality off ice....plus the tunnel vision on ice.

The tri-state is lucky to see three goalies at the top of their game like this.

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