Lundqvist has trouble closing series when not facing elimination

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The New York Rangers have already squandered one chance to finish off the Montreal Canadiens and advance to the Stanley Cup Final. They don’t want to see this series go to a Game 7, but in order for that to happen, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist needs to defy his status quo.

He was yanked midway through the second period on Tuesday after allowing four goals on 19 shots. The problem is, that’s not unusual for him under the circumstances. Whenever the Rangers have the opportunity to advance, but don’t face elimination, Lundqvist seems to struggle.

The last five times the Rangers have been put into that situation, Lundqvist has posted a 5.53 GAA and .808 save percentage, per the Bergen Record’s Tom Gulitti. He was pulled in four of those contests.

“He’ll be fine,” Rangers defenseman Marc Staal told NHL.com. “It’s the last concern of anyone on our team.”

The silver lining is that if Montreal does force a Game 7, then history suggests that Lundqvist will rise to the occasion. He’s 11-6 with a .944 save percentage in 17 career contests where the Rangers faced elimination. He’s also won his last five Game 7s.

The Rangers will take on Montreal at 8:00 p.m. ET tonight.

Related:

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