Henrik Lundqvist said he does not think much about whether he is playing at home or not in the playoffs while a game is going on. But when it is over and he is on the winning side, it makes all the difference.
“You try not to change too much the way you feel, the way you think or approach the game playing on the road or playing at home,” the Rangers goaltender said Sunday before Game 3 of a first-round playoff series against the Canadiens at Madison Square Garden.
“But really, the best moment is just to celebrate a win. That’s when you really enjoy playing at home.”
The Rangers have struggled at home, and enter the pivotal game with lingering memories of coming within less than 18 seconds on Friday of taking a 2-0 series advantage.
Lundqvist said he erased that disappointment from his memory sometime late that night in Montreal.
“As soon as the game is over you try to move on,” he said. “You do a quick analysis of the game, good or bad, and then it’s time to think about today. We played some great playoff games in this building over the years but now you just have to stay in the moment here and focus on what we need to do starting in the first period.
“But it’s always fun this time of the year, playing in front of the fans, with all the energy.”
Lundqvist entered the playoffs as a question mark for the Rangers after a so-so regular season, but he has been their best player through two games — and came very close to putting them in a commanding position.
“I think overall we’re pretty happy with our game,” he said. “We were pretty close to being up now, but at the same time let’s not overreact . . . There were a couple of things we could do better, but overall there were a lot of things there that we can like.”
Lundqvist said he does not expect the Canadiens’ approach to change moving forward.
“They’re coming hard to the net,” he said. “They’re throwing some pucks at the net to create rebounds. That’s just playoff hockey. It’s something you expect this time of year. It’s not going to change my approach or my game.”