Henrik Lundqvist shook off a sore left shoulder last night and was the star of the Rangers' playoff game against the Bruins. For two periods.
But Lundqvist, facing relentless pressure from the Bruins, allowed a pair of third-period goals as Boston won at the Garden, 2-1, to take a 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal series.
"I thought we played a pretty strong game, but came up short again," Lundqvist said. "And it definitely hurts."
The Bruins went ahead when Daniel Paille punched in a rebound at 16:29. Gregory Campbell's shot was deflected high before landing near the right post. Paille found it and sent it home.
"That was the problem -- I didn't see it," Lundqvist said. "It . . . went straight up and nobody saw it. Then it just landed on his stick and at some point you're going to need some puck luck, too. It's that close. You can't see all the bounces, but from where I'm standing, every game they've been getting the bounces and our guys are not getting them. I'm not going to blame it all on lucky bounces, but you need it. It's a simple as that."
Lundqvist finished with 32 saves. Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask had 23. The Rangers were outshot 34-24.
"He was outstanding," Rangers coach John Tortorella said of his goalie.
Lundqvist suffered a sore left shoulder in Sunday's Game 2 in Boston when he landing awkwardly while trying to cover the puck after stopping Paille's shot with 4:52 to play in the Rangers' 5-2 loss.
Both goalies were tested in a scoreless first period in an oddly quiet Garden. The Rangers came out firing, outshooting the Bruins 6-1 early, including a fruitless power play that left the Rangers 0-for-10 with a man advantage in the series and 2-for-37 in the playoffs.
As the Bruins started to draw even in the shots department, Lundqvist lived up to his "King" nickname multiple times. He made a save against Chris Kelly, who came in on a breakaway and tried a backhander, and also stopped Tyler Sequin on a breakaway after Anton Stralman committed a turnover. The Rangers finished the period with an 11-9 advantage in shots.
After Pyatt gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead at 3:53 of the second, the Bruins put up consistent pressure against Lundqvist in the period and were turned away. Rookie Torey Krug's shot became a pad save before Lundqvist delivered the save of the night: a glove snatch of a rocket from Campbell at 8:24.
But the Bruins' pressure paid off early in the third. Boychuk sent a blast from the point through three players and past Lundqvist to tie it.
"I think that's where the game's been decided -- in front of the net -- and they're very strong in front," Lundqvist said. "Getting to rebounds and screening, they do a nice job."