Henrik Lundqvist

Bolts shrug off talk of Madison Square Garden ‘mystique’


It’s not just about playing a huge game at “the world’s most famous arena.”

Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers have put up gaudy stats in elimination games and Game 7 situations at Madison Square Garden, as you’ve likely seen or heard. Most obviously, they’re 7-0 in Game 7’s at MSG.

On paper, it seems like an intimidating challenge: beat the reigning Presidents’ Trophy winners (employing hockey’s biggest goaltending star) in New York City for a chance to advance to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. It’s the sort of scenario that practically breeds “Nervous Nellies.”

The Tampa Bay Lightning aren’t taking the bait, though. At least not publicly.

Former Ranger Brian Boyle had some amusing comments about giving in to the MSG “mystique.”

“Do you think I buy it? What am I doing here if I buy it? Why would I fly up from Florida if I bought it?,” Boyle said. “They’ve obviously had success in Game 7. It’s a new year. Obviously, we’re expecting their best and they’ve been good. It’s a fun place to play.”

“They’re going to have the crowd support. We’re going to try to take it away from them as quick as we can, and hopefully it’s going to be a really fun, memorable game.”

Victor Hedman’s mindset is simple enough: he said “we’re prepared for this.”

Alex Killorn provided the sort of clever take you’d kind of expect from an Ivy League grad.

All veteran-type responses, even if most of the Lightning’s roster has never been in this spot before. Steven Stamkos was in a Game 7, and it stung for reasons that went beyond the puck he took to the face.

(Remember that?)

“Yeah, well, I remember not winning that one, so that’s tough. Don’t really remember taking the puck to the face as much as you remember losing,” Stamkos said. “That was a tough one. That was my first experience in the playoffs, and it was a great run. We’re right back in the same position right now, so I’m excited about the opportunity of having a little different result this time around. ”

source: AP
Via AP

Jon Cooper made a good point: yes, the Rangers are dominant in these situations, but none of those Game 7 wins came against the Lightning.

“We haven’t been a part of that history, so it doesn’t affect us,” Cooper said, via the Canadian Press. “I guess you look back and it’s an impressive feat to see what they’ve done. But they haven’t done it against our group and our team, and we’ve got a pretty young, confident group.”

Winning and not taking a puck to the mush would be quite the improvement for Stamkos & Co. (Hey, you need to set goals, right?)

(Video) PHT Extra: Health, not history, should be Lightning’s major concern


Everyone knows how good Henrik Lundqvist has been in Game 7s for the Rangers, but the Lightning should probably be more concerned about the flu bug that’s been running through their team.

Meanwhile, the Ducks will get to play Game 7 at home, but how much confidence should they have in Frederik Andersen against the Blackhawks?

We preview the deciding games of the conference finals:

Lundqvist on Game 7: ‘You’re definitely nervous, but it comes down to teamwork’


How has Henrik Lundqvist been so good in Game 7?

That’s what reporters wanted to know today in New York, where Friday night the Rangers and Lightning will play the seventh and deciding game of the Eastern Conference Final.

As you’ve probably heard by now, Lundqvist has won six straight Game 7s. He’s only lost one of them in his career, back in 2009 against Washington. Amazingly, the two goals he surrendered in that 2-1 defeat are the most he’s ever surrendered in a Game 7. Since then, he’s allowed one, one, zero, one, one, and one.

In other words, seven Game 7s. Seven goals allowed. Total.

Yet the 33-year-old doesn’t have any special trick that he uses to rise to the occasion.

“I just try to go out and do my job,” he said. “You’re definitely nervous, but it comes down to teamwork. I feel comfortable when we’re in the right place, when we’re doing good things out there. I feel like it’s easier for me to focus on my game, and that’s a big part of winning these games too. You focus on the team concept and the things that brought you to this moment.”

He added, “You need to stay in the moment really. Just control the things you can control. I keep saying that every time. Tiring of hearing it. But I think that’s the most important thing.”

Lundqvist has already won a Game 7 in these playoffs, stopping 35 of 36 shots in a 2-1 overtime victory over the Capitals in the second round.

But despite all the history on his side, he knows the Lightning won’t go down easily. Tampa Bay has already won two games at MSG in the series.

“They’ve been playing really well in our building,” he said. “You have to respect that. They’re a really good team, so we have to play our best.”

Video: Lundqvist helps lead Rangers back to New York for Game 7


An ideal start is what the New York Rangers got off to on Tuesday, in a game they needed to win, on the shoulders of Henrik Lundqvist.

Sure, the Rangers converted a pair of goals, including one of Derick Brassard’s three on the night, to take the lead. Those two goals came on seven shots, while the Tampa Bay Lightning, with a chance to earn a berth in the Stanley Cup Final, fired 16 toward Lundqvist.

He made 28 saves through two periods, including this left-pad stop on Steven Stamkos.

Former Ranger Ryan Callahan was the only Tampa Bay player to get a puck by Lundqvist until the third period.

Tampa bay was in chase mode by the time they solved Lundqvist. The Rangers have, once again, forced a Game 7.

“It’s really the best feeling,” Lundqvist told the Toronto Sun.

“It’s a lot of adrenalin and pressure and you’re nervous going into these games. You have to enjoy it. Everything on the line again, playing in front of our fans, there is not a better feeling than to have a big game at home.”


A storm brewing: Rangers rally to force Game 7 with Lightning (Video)


For the second straight series in these playoffs, the New York Rangers have forced a Game 7 after facing elimination.

This time, it will be against the Tampa Bay Lightning, with the winner advancing to the Stanley Cup Final.

It didn’t seem like much of a surprise that the Rangers had held on to take a 2-1 lead into the third period. They’ve been in similar situations like that before. But, needing the win, they erupted for five goals, chasing Ben Bishop from the net, in the third period to defeat the Lightning 7-3 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Derick Brassard recorded the hat trick for New York, capping off a five-point night that started with the opening goal less than four minutes in.

“Honestly I just go out there and I try to just make a difference,” Brassard told NHL.com.

“When I feel like the team needs some support offensively or I feel I need to step up, I just try to do it. I don’t really put any pressure on myself. The disappointment from losing last year I think really hit me from losing the last game at home and facing elimination tonight. We’re not far away to be in the Final again. I just play.”

J.T. Miller and Rick Nash each recorded four-point nights for the Rangers, as well.

The goals came quick in the final period. Miller, James Sheppard and Brassard each scored for New York within the span 4:12, ending the night for Bishop, who allowed five goals on 26 shots.

“That’s why the won the Presidents’ trophy. If you stop thinking about your net for a little bit, that’s what can happen,” said Bishop, as per the New York Daily News.

While the Lightning managed a pair of goals in the third, with New York comfortably ahead at that point, Henrik Lundqvist came up with another strong performance. His biggest save came off Steven Stamkos in the first period, with the Rangers up by a goal.

Shortly after that stop, a left-pad act of denial on one of the league’s best scorers, the Rangers were able to increase their lead, in a physical, at times chippy game.

Stanley Cup finalists a year ago, the Rangers managed to battle back from a 3-1 series deficit in the second round against Washington.

Against Tampa Bay at Madison Square Garden, do the Rangers have another series comeback in them?

We’ll find out Friday.