Even in loss, Lundqvist comes up big

Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers

Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers stops the puck in Game Six of the Eastern Conference against the Ottawa Senators. (April 23, 2012) (Credit: Getty Images)

WASHINGTON -- Henrik Lundqvist has stolen plenty of games for the Rangers during the last decade -- especially this season, with his Hart and Vezina Trophy nominations testifying to that.

He was close to stealing Game 4 Saturday, but a screened point shot did him and the Rangers in as the Capitals tied the series with a 3-2 win.

"I didn't see the puck so I was pretty much guessing where it was going on both the second and third [goals]," Lundqvist said. "It's unfortunate, but I'll move on."

Lundqvist made 23 saves, which is a fairly pedestrian number for him. At least half of those were grade A chances, particularly in a lopsided first period.

Alex Ovechkin thought he had Lundqvist beaten less than three minutes in, when his doorstep tip somehow ended up in Lundqvist's glove rather than the yawning net. Ovechkin stood over Lundqvist and said a few words under his breath.

Later in that same Capitals power play, Lundqvist stopped Alexander Semin from in close and then Nicklas Backstrom in quick succession, keeping the game scoreless as the Caps piled up seven shots on goal in the first five minutes.

"He was huge, as always," Ryan McDonagh said. "They came out real strong and Hank came up big. That early power play got their skill guys some big minutes and good chances, but Hank was great. He's been great the whole playoffs, always giving us a chance to win."

Even after Ovechkin's off-speed, quick slap shot beat Lundqvist late in the first, the goaltender stood tall and allowed the Rangers to get off the mat. His biggest save of the second was a rebound save on Semin while lying flat on his back; 75 seconds later, Marian Gaborik tied the score.

In the third, Lundqvist turned aside Backstrom's two-on-nothing break-in, kicking out with his left pad hard enough to get the rebound beyond Jason Chimera's reach.

"He was definitely good for them," Caps center Brooks Laich said of Lundqvist. "We had some great chances that he definitely took away."

But not the final one, when Mike Green's slap shot slid by McDonagh's skates and beat Lundqvist low to the blocker side. Lundqvist angrily tossed his equipment in his bag after finishing with reporters, showing his disgust with the outcome.

"They're not just going to lay down and give it to us, and they came out way more aggressive," Lundqvist said. "We played a good second half. I don't really have a good explanation. It's going to be a battle to the end.

"Right now it's tough to be positive, but it's 2-2. I'm probably going to think about this game a little bit for a couple hours, then move on and look forward to playing at home [Monday]."

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