PITTSBURGH -- New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist felt hopeless.
Lundqvist played a significant role in eliminating the Pittsburgh Penguins from the Stanley Cup Playoffs the past two years. On Saturday, he allowed four goals in the second period and watched from the bench in the third while the Rangers struggled to a 6-3 loss to the Penguins at Consol Energy Center and a 4-1 series defeat in the Eastern Conference First Round.
"In the second period, it was a feeling of embarrassment to give up that many goals, but it was a sense of hopelessness not being able to come up with saves," Lundqvist said. "The score being the score in the second period (6-2), it was definitely not a good feeling. To sit in the third and think about what went wrong, you'll need a couple days to analyze this and even the season as a whole. What was good? What was not good?"
Lundqvist said he felt New York could have given up fewer scoring chances but that it was his responsibility to ensure those chances didn't result in goals. Ultimately, Lundqvist said the series defeat is on him.
"You need strong goaltending. You need a goalie that's going to make a lot of big extra saves and I was not able to come up with that," Lundqvist said. "For some reason, sometimes you took a step on a guy and they went across. Sometimes you stay deep and they came in with a lot of time. You need to be extremely confident as a goalie to be able to stop those types of shots, and these last two games I wasn't strong enough to do that."
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Lundqvist allowed 10 goals on 41 shots in Games 4 and 5, and was pulled in each. He allowed four goals in six of his last 16 appearances.
The series had a rough start for Lundqvist, who took a stick to the eye from Rangers defenseman Marc Staal late in the first period of Game 1 before allowing the opening goal to Penguins forward Patric Honrqvist. Antti Raanta replaced Lundqvist to start the second period for the first of three times this series.
After strong performances in a 4-2 Game 2 win and 3-1 Game 3 loss, Lundqvist allowed four goals on 18 shots before being pulled in a 5-0 Game 4 loss. He didn't fare any better Saturday, when he surrendered six goals on 23 shots before being pulled after the second period.
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"We played a team that was smarter and better," Lundqvist said. "The last two games here, I just didn't have it in me to make a difference, and that's painful. That's my job."
New York coach Alain Vigneault said the rest of the Rangers were equally responsible for the series loss.
"It's a team game," Vigneault said. "I don't want to single out one performance or one individual. We came into this as a team trying to win the Stanley Cup and we lost in the first round, so it's disappointing right now."