NEW YORK -- Throughout Henrik Lundqvist's impressive career, the Rangers goaltender has established himself as a New York sporting icon thanks in large part to his vast collection of highlight-reel saves. At times Tuesday night, it seemed like he would add a new wing to that collection just from Game 3 of the team's Eastern Conference Semifinal against the Boston Bruins.
ECSF: (4) BRUINS vs. (6) RANGERS
The New York Rangers are in a 3-0 deficit for the 11th time in their history. They have forced a Game 5 four times and in 1939 became the first team in Stanley Cup Playoff history to force a Game 7 after falling into a 3-0 hole. Ironically, they did that against the Boston Bruins.
Here is the Rangers' history when falling behind 3-0 in a seven-game series:
The Boston Bruins lead a seven-game series 3-0 for the 19th time in their history. They have completed the sweep 13 times but are also one of three teams in NHL history to blow the lead and lose in Game 7.
Here is the Bruins' history when leading 3-0 in a seven-game series:
Among his 32 saves, there was the right-pad save in the first period off Tyler Seguin's breakaway deke. A point-blank stop in close on Jaromir Jagr. A quick toe save off Torey Krug in the second period. And, in perhaps the best stop of the night, a picture-perfect glove save of Gregory Campbell's slap shot from the left wing.
"He's been great every single game," Rangers forward Rick Nash said of Lundqvist. "[He's the] backbone of this team. Can't say enough about him."
For a while at least, it seemed like this might be Lundqvist's night. But two Bruins goals undid a brilliant performance in a 2-1 Rangers loss.
"He was outstanding," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "He was under a lot of pressure and made a lot of great saves."
Lundqvist kept the game close but was relied on most after teammate Taylor Pyatt scored 3:53 into the second period to give New York a 1-0 lead. From Pyatt's goal until the end of the period, Boston held a 14-2 shot advantage. Each time the Bruins stormed the Rangers net, Lundqvist seemed to have an answer.
"After the second period, my message to our guys was, we're playing a good road game here," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "I thought with a few breaks in the first period we could have been ahead. But Lundqvist played extremely well."
Boston tied the game 3:10 into the third period on a wrist shot by Johnny Boychuk that at first glance didn't seem to be all that dangerous. But the puck found its way past Lundqvist, who was screened on the play by Campbell and Shawn Thornton.
That goal appeared to tip the ice in favor of Boston, who outshot New York 5-2 in the final 5:28.
One of those shots belonged to Daniel Paille, who completed a bizarre play with 3:31 remaining. Shortly after the puck bounced up off Lundqvist's mask, it somehow stayed out of the net but found Paille's stick, and he gave Boston its 2-1 lead.
It was a cruel fate for a goaltender who had done everything in his power to get the Rangers back in this best-of-7 series. New York trails 3-0 with Game 4 at Madison Square Garden on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, RDS, TSN).
"The game is so fast. I think everybody knows you need some bounces. Hopefully it turns around for us in the next game," Lundqvist said. "But the game is that fast. The difference between a goal and a save is so close. You wish you could get that bounce on our side with three minutes to go, but they got it again. …
"It's hard to believe. At some point you're going to need some good bounces. We have to work harder to get the bounces. As a group now, we have to leave everything out there and start with one [win]. That's all we're focused on."