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Henrik Lundqvist gets the Rangers to Game 7

New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist watches the

New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist watches the puck as Washington Capitals left wing Marcus Johansson tries to hit it during the second period in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Verizon Center on May 10, 2015 in Washington, D.C. Credit: AP

WASHINGTON - Henrik Lundqvist made so many important and impressive saves, it soon became difficult to keep them all straight, let alone describe them for you.

But that's OK. The only save that matters now is this one: Lundqvist saved the Rangers' season Sunday night in Game 6 of their second-round playoff series against the Capitals.

Sure, Chris Kreider -- who saved the season with a late goal in Game 5 -- scored twice. But it was the Rangers' goaltender who turned away Capital after Capital in a frantic, fast-paced gem of a game, buying time for the Blueshirts' offense to awaken at last.

The 4-3 victory, the Rangers' NHL-record 13th consecutive one-goal game in the playoffs, earned King Henrik and his friends at least one more game in front of their fans at the Garden on Wednesday night.

And it burdened the Capitals with three days to ponder what would be a devastating choke for a team that has not made a conference finals in 17 years, and its coach, Barry Trotz, and star player, Alex Ovechkin, never have.

The Capitals surely believe they deserved better after outshooting the Rangers, 45-28, and very nearly erasing a 4-1 third-period deficit.

Lundqvist would not allow it. The 42 saves were the most Lundqvist ever has recorded in a playoff game that ended in regulation time.

Wearing the honorary "Broadway Hat" in the tiny, crowded visitors' dressing room afterward, his face was red and he was perspiring heavily. He pretty much ignored the first question from a journalist and said simply this:

"I'm so tired. It was an intense game. It's a warm building to play in. You sweat a lot. Legs cramping."

Lundqvist made a huge save on Ovechkin with just under six minutes left, then had to survive a six-on-four Caps' advantage when they combined a power play with pulling their goaltender in the final two minutes.

"They're skilled," Lundqvist said. "So you have to be on top of your game, especially with three minutes left. You have to keep your cool. You can't overreact to things. You have to stay in the moment and do your job."

Lundqvist added that at times it was "just mayhem" in front of him.

Perhaps most importantly for the Rangers, they at last penetrated the stone wall that Braden Holtby had built in the Washington net. Until Game 6, he had had the edge in one of the best goaltending duels in NHL playoff history. Not anymore.

I should mention that the three goals Lundqvist allowed were the most the Rangers have given up in their past nine games. But do not be misled by that. He was spectacular in the face of a Washington onslaught.

It was an offense-oriented night from the start. After a hugely entertaining first period that Lundqvist called the best of the series, the Rangers had 20 shots on goal and the Capitals 17, with both teams getting numerous excellent opportunities.

Lundqvist's highlight in the period was consecutive right pad saves on Jason Chimera and Troy Brouwer, followed by catching a shot from Brouwer with his right hand, the one with which he is supposed to hold his stick.

Dan Girardi said of Lundqvist, "He was just a wall back there for us . . . They had a lot of opportunities, but he was there to close the door."

After scoring a combined two goals in regulation time in the previous three games against the Capitals, the Rangers took a 2-0 lead into the dressing room. That bode well, since they had not allowed more than two goals in eight consecutive games entering the night -- their longest such streak in the playoffs since going 21 straight from 1928-31.

But the Capitals eventually did end up scoring three goals -- the hard way.

"We found a way," Lundqvist said, still sweating and still smiling. "And we're going to Game 7."

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