NEWARK -- Henrik Lundqvist sat in his crease for a good minute or two, with confetti flying from the rafters and the Devils mobbing each other just off to his left. The Rangers goaltender didn't know how Adam Henrique's series-winner had sneaked through him just 1:03 into overtime Friday night, but Lundqvist knew it was over, his best season as a Ranger finished in a scramble.
"It's a bad feeling when you feel all the guys on top of you, behind you," Lundqvist said. "You just hope for a whistle and a faceoff, but unfortunately, we didn't get it."
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Lundqvist was again the main reason the Rangers were even in OT in Game 6, having held the fort in a dominant first period for the Devils that could have been much worse for the Rangers than a 2-0 deficit.
Despite giving up impossible-to-stop goals to Ryan Carter, a rebound after Lundqvist stopped Stephen Gionta's breakaway try, and Ilya Kovalchuk, who was left alone for a one-timed ripper to Lundqvist's right on a power play, the goaltender made a few spectacular saves in the opening 20 minutes.
He robbed Kovalchuk just 38 seconds into the game, getting his glove on a wrist shot off a rush. Dainius Zubrus hit the post on a shorthanded three-on-one with the game still scoreless, so there was a bit of luck, but it was all Lundqvist in stopping Travis Zajac from the slot just before Kovalchuk's goal.
Lundqvist also made a couple of stops on a later Devils power play to keep it at 2-0 and allow the second-period rally.
"They forechecked really well, they came hard," Lundqvist said. "I thought we got better later on and we showed a lot of character coming back."
Lundqvist's final postseason record is just 10-10 to go with a 1.82 goals-against average; he finished the regular season with a sub-2.00 goals against as well, on his way to Vezina and Hart Trophy nominations.
"So many things that happened during the year, it felt like something special was happening," he said. "As a player, those signs are exciting. But it wasn't our year. I'm going to sit down for a bit and try to learn something from this."
But that won't happen for a bit. After getting past the second round of the playoffs for the first time in his seven-year career, Lundqvist wasn't ready to have it end.
"It's such an empty feeling," he said. "I'm going to probably be tired for a couple of weeks . . . All the work you put in for two months [of the playoffs], eight months really, it hurts. This is going to take a while to get over."