PITTSBURGH -- New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal has seen his teammate, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, do some pretty sensational things in their time together, almost enough to make the amazing look routine.
But the saves Lundqvist made late in the third period of Game 7 in the Rangers' Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday left Staal stunned on the bench. They were also the pivotal moments in New York's 2-1 victory.
With New York clinging to a one-goal lead during Pittsburgh's furious late push, the Penguins charged into the crease with 5:16 remaining. Lundqvist dropped to his knees and fanned out his right pad to get a piece of James Neal's low shot from the crease and held strong with Evgeni Malkin jamming away at the puck. After Kris Letang's attempt on the rebound was blocked, Lundqvist fought through bodies to get his left pad on Paul Martin's backhand attempt that changed direction after hitting a stray stick in front. And as Penguins converged en masse at the Rangers net, Lundqvist covered the puck for a whistle.
"That's three or four of the biggest saves I've seen [Lundqvist] make since I've played with him," Staal said. "Five minutes left to go, 2-1 hockey game and he comes up with that ... that's massive. Stepped up and made a bunch of huge saves. Battle hard for us. That got us the win."