Henrik Lundqvist talks like a man who knows he can only do so much
|05.17.13 at 2:45 pm ET|
For the second straight year, Henrik Lunqvist is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, given to the NHL’s top goaltender. As a matter of fact, Lundqvist is making a very strong case as one of the greatest goalies ever to play the game. Before winning the Vezina Trophy in 2012, he was nominated in each of his first three seasons, and is the only goaltender in NHL history to record 30 wins in each of his first seven seasons.
And, for a second straight year, he has led his team into the second round of the playoffs by standing on his head. He came into Thursday’s Game 1 with back-to-back shutouts of the Capitals in Games 6 and 7 to lead the Rangers to victory. He extended that streak to 152 minutes, 23 seconds before Zdeno Chara beat him midway through the second period.
He stopped 45 of the first 47 shots he faced Thursday night, including the first 15 of overtime before Brad Marchand finally beat him in overtime for a 3-2 Bruins win in Game 1.
Lundqvist was searching for answers after Game 1, while hinting that he can only do so much if his offense doesn’t do anything to help take the pressure off. The Rangers were outshot, 16-5, in the extra period.
“I don’t know,” Lundqvist said when asked to describe the Marchand goal. “There was a two-on-one I guess, and I thought I made a bad decision. I mean it’s a tough play, but I could play it better. That was a tough overtime for us. We didn’t really get going, and they came out with a lot of energy and created a lot of chances. I thought we played a pretty good game. We did, but special teams were the difference, the one at one-nothing and then, I mean that’s going to be the case these playoffs. I talked about it in the first round and we’ve got to get it done. We didn’t.”
As is the case with most highly competitive athletes, he was looking for ways he could’ve done more to stop the game-winning goal, set up by a brilliant pass from Patrice Bergeron on a 2-on-1 rush up the center and right wing. Lundqvist stayed with Bergeron a bit too long, allowing Marchand the chance to get open in front.
“I’ve got to see the guy in the middle,” Lundqvist said. “I was too focused on the puck. I kind of knew he [Brad Marchand] was coming in the middle, but I just was too locked in on the puck, and that’s why I made a stretch move instead of coming with my pads together. It’s a technical thing and it happened fast. Sooner or later when you face a lot of chances like that, you’re going to make a mistake. It’s not a mistake I’m going to sleep less over. I thought we played a solid game, but we just came up short here, in overtime again.”
What did his coach John Tortorella think of Lundqvist being so hard on himself?
“He’s a competitor,” the coach said.
Remarkably, Lundqvist is now 3-11 in career overtime games in the playoffs. Bad luck?
“I’ve got to be really careful to ask myself the right question there, because have I played bad in overtime? No. Can I score? No. Is it frustrating? Yes. My record is terrible in overtime, but I’ve just got to stick with it, play my game, and hopefully it’ll turn around.”
Lundvist faced six shots alone on Boston’s power play in overtime, providing Boston the spark it needed in the end.
“It was a tough overtime period for us,” Lundqvist said. “They came hard, and I thought their power play really gave them energy every time they got on the ice. They really built from every power play, it felt like.