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Lundqvist delivers another world-class performance

by Dave Lozo

NEWARK, N.J. -- Brad Richards could have signed with multiple teams as a free agent this summer. But the New York Rangers were the only team who could concretely state they had something -- or someone -- no one else could offer.

Henrik Lundqvist.

Henrik Lundqvist
Henrik Lundqvist
Goalie - NYR
RECORD: 10-7-2
GAA: 1.57 | SVP: 0.942
Sure, the nine years, $60 million and the stability of an Original Six franchise was enticing, but Richards said Lundqvist was also on his list of reasons why he wanted to call New York home for the rest of his career.

"He's the best goalie in the world," Richards said following the Rangers' 3-0 win against the Devils in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday afternoon at Prudential Center.

For the second time this series, Lundqvist withstood an all-out assault to earn a shutout. He made 36 saves, many difficult and spectacular, and allowed the Rangers time to find their legs later in the game. The score was tied 0-0 after two periods -- just as it was in Game 1 -- but Dan Girardi broke the scoreless tie with a power-play goal, Chris Kreider scored his fifth of the postseason less than two minutes later, and captain Ryan Callahan added an empty-net goal to seal it.

Through two periods, Lundqvist made 26 saves. For Girardi, who has been Lundqvist's teammate for six NHL seasons, it's hard coming up with new adjectives to describe his goaltender's brilliance.

"There's not many different things I can say," Girardi said. "He seems to always make that big save. I think he made four of five just huge ones. That really gives us the momentum going to the third period knowing it's 0-0. We know if we can just win a period, we can get a win on the road."

One of Lundqvist's best stops came in the final seconds of the first period, when he used the knob of his stick to stop a 2-on-1 shot attempt from Devils captain Zach Parise. It was also one of the saves Lundqvist considered to have some "luck" involved, and his best save of the game also wasn't entirely skillful.


Lundqvist leads Rangers to 3-0 win

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer
Henrik Lundqvist made 36 saves to back a three-goal third period that propelled the New York Rangers to a 3-0 victory and a 2-1 series lead over the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals. READ MORE ›

Devils sniper Ilya Kovalchuk slipped behind the defense early in the second period for one of his two breakaways during Game 3. Lundqvist moved out to challenge, but Kovalchuk made a move that dropped the Vezina and Hart Trophy finalist to the ice. Showing the compete level coach John Tortorella has raved about all season, Lundqvist made a glove save while sprawled out along the ice to keep the game 0-0.

Lundqvist was perfectly fine with getting a little lucky in some situations.

"He's a good player, so any time you face players like that, you try to be patient and wait for him to make the first move," Lundqvist said. "I kind of went down to make a glove save. That's not really the way I want to make a save. I got a little lucky there he didn't roof it. The timing was good but I just need to be more patient.

"I was a little lucky today. There were a couple times when I made the first move, but I still ended up making the save. You need some luck sometimes. They say you earn the luck by working hard, but today was a good day."

Devils coach Peter DeBoer was asked many different things about why is his team was shut out for the second time in this series -- the inability to convert on five power-play chances, the penalty kill giving up the deciding goal -- but he kept bringing his answers back to Lundqvist.

"I think their goalie was the difference," DeBoer said. "We generated some opportunities (on the power play), some zone time, moved the puck around well. I thought we created some real good looks on it. When their goalie's on like that, your goaltender is your best penalty killer, and I think that was the case.

"We're not the first team that Lundqvist has done this to. So you have to battle through. It's a little frustrating."

DeBoer's comments were relayed to Lundqvist, who is now 10-7 in the postseason with a 1.57 goals-against average and .942 save percentage. He smiled, but made sure to recognize it didn't mean anything once he left the podium.

"I mean, I'm really happy we won," Lundqvist said. "That means so much to me to win every game here and it's so important to me and to the group. But on Monday, it's not going to mean anything. You have to start over and earn that respect again, and hopefully (DeBoer will) say the same thing after that game."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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