Lundqvist ready to face former teammate Jaromir Jagr

Then-Rangers captain Jaromir Jagr celebrates with Henrik Lundqvist Then-Rangers captain Jaromir Jagr celebrates with Henrik Lundqvist at the end of a game. Photo Credit: Newsday, 2007/Kathy Kmonicek

advertisement | advertise on newsday

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Friend or foe? Turns out that for Henrik Lundqvist, one member of the Boston Bruins is both.

Lundqvist smiled Wednesday when asked about facing former Ranger Jaromir Jagr, who will be trying to score against the Rangers' red-hot goalie when the teams begin their Eastern Conference semifinal series Thursday night at TD Garden in Boston.

"Yeah, he's such a special player," Lundqvist said. "I'm happy I had the opportunity to play with him. It's a great memory to have when you look back. To have a chance to play with one of the best players to ever play the game, it was a lot of fun. Such a nice person, too."

Jagr, 41, played for the Rangers from 2003-'04 to 2007-'08. Lundqvist joined the team in 2005-'06, which also happened to be Jagr's best season on Broadway when he scored 54 goals and had 69 assists for 123 points.

After leaving the Rangers, Jagr spent three seasons playing in Russia before returning to the NHL with Philadelphia last season. He started this one with Dallas before getting dealt to Boston at the trade deadline.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

In 11 regular-season games with the Bruins, Jagr had two goals and seven assists. He had four assists in Boston's first-round playoff victory over Toronto, including one on Patrice Bergeron's overtime series-ender in Game 7.

"I'm happy that he's back in the league," Lundqvist said. "It's going to tough to face him. He's a great player. But I respect him a lot as a person and as a player."

Jagr, with his playoff beard showing more than a trace of white, praised Lundqvist Wednesday to reporters in Boston.

"He's just a good goalie," he said. "I've never studied the goalie position or been a goalie coach, so I don't know why he is good. But he's good because he is stopping the puck. I guess most of the pucks he stops."

He stopped all of them in the final two games of the Rangers' first-round victory over the Washington Capitals. Lundqvist's back-to-back shutouts in Games 6 and 7 earned the Rangers a trip to the second round.

Boston, after nearly blowing a 3-1 series lead to Toronto, rallied from a 4-1 third-period deficit in Game 7 and won the series in overtime.

Lundqvist was 2-1-0 against the Bruins this season. In his career, he is 21-7-2 with a 1.67 goals-against average and a .943 save percentage in 30 career games against them.

"It's very tough to score on him," Jagr said. "He doesn't make many mistakes. The way he goes, the team goes. And it's always been like that, even when I was there. He was the most important guy on that team."

Subscribe to Newsday’s sports newsletter for stories, photos and videos about your favorite New York teams plus national sports news and events.

You also may be interested in: