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Lundqvist Not Focusing on Matchup With Price

Plus Kreider on Taking on Montreal's Netminder

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

The lone Original Six matchup in the opening-round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs will provide one of the better goaltending matchups in the NHL, with Henrik Lundqvist taking on Carey Price.

But for Lundqvist, the focus isn't on the netminder at the other end of the rink, but rather his own game.

"Not really," Lundqvist said when asked about if he thinks about Price. "I know going into this series playing against Carey, one of the best goalies in the world and in the League. I'm feeling pretty good and playing pretty good, but it's not going to be good enough to beat them or beat him."

While he does not view it as Lundqvist against Price, he did say facing the League's elite - in this case Price, who in 2015 won the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP, and the Vezina for its top goaltender- challenges him to up his own game.

"I see that as a challenge for me to raise my level and try to be the difference and help the team here to get to four wins," Lundqvist said. "He's good, but there's no question that when you start playing, you don't think about that you're playing against him. You focus on your own game and try to help the team and give it a chance to win." 

While Lundqvist squaring off against Price will grab headlines, so too will Chris Krieder facing Price in the postseason for the first time since the two collided in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final in 2014, which caused Price to miss the final five games of the series New York won in six.

Kreider, though, said he hasn't given it any thought.

"It was a long time ago," he told reporters Monday. "I'm just focused on this series and Game 1."

The winger, who set career-highs in goals and points this season, said the incident did not change the way he plays, and it would not moving forward.

"My game doesn't change. It hasn't changed," Kreider stated. "For me to be effective, I need to go to the crease. That's where I'm going to score goals. I don't have a big one-timer, I'm not scoring from distance, so I need to be a big body and get to the top of the paint and try to bang stuff home."

Price has had success against New York during his career, going 15-5-1 with seven shutouts. 

Derek Stepan said the series comes down to two great goaltenders, and that for the Rangers to be successful, they have to find ways to get pucks past Price.

"He's an elite goaltender," Stepan said of Price. "If you look at the series, it's going to be a goaltending matchup. It's two of the best in the world going at it. It's going to be something as the series goes on we're going to have to find ways to get pucks past him because he's so good. If he can see it, he's going to save it, and sometimes when he can't see it he's going to save it, so we're going to have to be real sharp with the puck when we get our scoring chances and find ways to maybe get some bounces by him. It's a key point for us and it's something we're going to have to be real good with."

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