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Rangers' Lundqvist has proven to be Game 7 king

by Mike G. Morreale / NHL.com

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has built a reputation as being a top performer in the face of elimination during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"I've only been here a short time but that's the reputation [Lundqvist] has around the League," Rangers forward Tanner Glass said Wednesday. "He's a big-game goalie."

Lundqvist will look to continue that trend in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

A victory would give Lundqvist six Game 7 wins in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, tying him with Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy for the most in the NHL. He's won five straight Game 7s, an NHL record according to the Elias Sports Bureau, and has a 0.80 goals-against average, one shutout and a .973 save percentage in those games.

"As a player you want to play in these moments," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "The game is on the line and your season is on the line. You want to show what you're made of and there's no doubt that [Lundqvist] loves these situations and I think the rest of our group does also.

"We were less than a couple minutes away from our season being over [in Game 5] and found a way to survive, and then we found a way to win [Game 6] in Washington and we're going to give it our best shot [Wednesday]."

Lundqvist also has a history of success in elimination games against the Capitals. He made 35 saves in a 5-0 victory against the Capitals in Game 7 of the 2013 Eastern Conference First Round, and 22 saves in a 2-1 win against the Capitals in Game 7 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Semifinal.

Lundqvist allowed four goals on 74 shots (.946 save percentage) in wins against the Capitals in Games 5 and 6 of this series.

"Like any player you understand the circumstances," Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh said. "But you want to try to continue to do your routine or play to your strengths and stick to what you know is best and that's what great about Henrik. It doesn't matter if it's preseason, regular season or postseason. The way he prepares and his routine and the way he carries himself in the morning to game time, it seems like it's all business. It's just him giving himself the best chance to be successful and ultimately try and help us win a game."

Lundqvist has won 13 of his past 16 elimination games, dating to Game 6 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Ottawa Senators. He's 14-8 in 22 playoff games in which the Rangers have faced elimination.

"He's a great goaltender and it seems every game he plays he's got a Game 7 approach," Rangers forward Martin St. Louis said. "So I don't expect it any different [Wednesday]."

Lundqvist has won nine straight elimination games at Madison Square Garden, with a 0.97 GAA, two shutouts and .968 save percentage.

Washington goaltender Braden Holtby will be playing his fifth Game 7 in three playoff seasons; he has a 2-2 record.

Since the start of the 2014 playoffs, Lundqvist ranks first among NHL goalies with more than 15 games in games played (36), wins (20), GAA (2.00) and save percentage (.931).

Here are the projected lineups:

CAPITALS

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Marcus Johansson

Jason Chimera - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Joel Ward

Andre Burakovsky - Jay Beagle - Troy Brouwer

Curtis Glencross - Brooks Laich - Tom Wilson

Brooks Orpik - John Carlson

Karl Alzner - Matt Niskanen

Tim Gleason - Mike Green

Braden Holtby

Justin Peters

Scratched: Michael Latta

Injured: Eric Fehr (upper body), John Erskine (neck surgery), Dmitry Orlov (wrist)

RANGERS

Rick Nash - Derick Brassard - Martin St. Louis

Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - Jesper Fast

Carl Hagelin - Dominic Moore - Kevin Hayes

Tanner Glass - James Sheppard - J.T. Miller

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi

Marc Staal - Dan Boyle

Keith Yandle - Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

Cam Talbot

Scratched: Chris Summers, Ryan Bourque, Matt Hunwick

Injured: Mats Zuccarello (upper body)

Status report: Zuccarello remains out indefinitely after getting hit in the head by a McDonagh slap shot in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins on April 24.

Who's hot: Brassard leads the Rangers with five goals and eight points in 11 playoff games. He is tied for first on the team with four points, including two goals, against the Capitals. … Nash leads the Rangers in shots on goal (39) and takeaways (11), is tied for the team lead with five assists and tied for second with seven points through 11 playoff games.

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