Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was magnificent and Brad Richards continued his streak of clutch game 7 performances as the New York Rangers completed the comeback from a 3 games to 1 deficit to eliminate the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Lundqvist made 35 saves on 36 shots to get the win, his 5th straight game 7 victory. Richards, who has never lost a game 7 in his career (7-0) had the game winner on a New York Rangers power play just before the 8 minute mark of the second period.
It was the Rangers’ fourth line that got them on the board in the first period, with perennial pain in the behind Brian Boyle completing a nice three way passing play on the rush by sticking it through Marc-Andre Fleury‘s five hole. That goal came just 5:25 into the game and got the Rangers going.
Jussi Jokinen tied the game just over 4 minutes into the second, finding himself all alone with the rebound of a Olli Maatta shot on his stick. Lundqvist got across to put himself in position to made the save but couldn’t get his glove on the shot.
While the Penguins tried to get momentum from that goal, a Matt Niskanen tripping penalty put the Rangers on the power play and that is when Richards struck. Martin St. Louis backhanded a pass from the side of the net to Richards all alone in the slot and Fleury was handcuffed by the high shot.
The Penguins pressed hard in the third, but other than a couple of chances that Lundqvist was able to turn away.
Sidney Crosby will take the brunt of the criticism for his lack of production, and probably rightly so. He played over 22 minutes and managed just a single shot on goal, and he was on the ice for the offensive zone faceoff that resulted in the 4th line of the Rangers going down the ice and scoring. The game’s best player managed just a goal and 2 assists in the series.
The Rangers will get a well deserved couple of days off as they await the winner of Wednesday’s game 7 between the Boston Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens.