Wow. Two crazy game sevens last night.
Down in DC, Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist made some stunning saves against the Capitals, but ended up giving up a soft game-winner, once again showing how vulnerable he is when you shoot shortside on him. For whatever reason, Lundqvist just does not fully hug the post.
The Rangers controlled the play for stretches, but never had a tremendous scoring chance. People seem really pleased with the play of Sean Avery, who was strong from a puck management perspective, but who had trouble distributing the puck from the boards and from behind the net. Especially after setting up the Rangers only goal of the night. And kudos to Caps coach Bruce Boudreau for telling his team to go high on Lundqvist. Lundqvist has a lot of trouble with rising shots, but for whatever reason, teams don’t go high on him. Given a choice between taking a low shot and waiting for a high one, I’ll wait for the high shot every time. Because Lundqvist can be unstoppable down low, as most good butterfly goalies are.
Washington will take on Pittsburgh in the second round. If it took the Caps seven games to get past the Rangers, the odds against Pittsburgh don’t look too good. Rookie goalie Simeon Varlamov is going to be shocked by the Penguins if he thinks the Rangers have a representative NHL offense.
And what can you say about New Jersey’s last minute game seven loss? Steve Politi can’t tell you what happened. To me, it looked like once Carolina tied it, the Devils assumed they would head into overtime, and didn’t lock down their blueline, and that was all Carolina needed to win it in regulation.
I’m impressed as anything with Jamie Langenbrunner, though. He underwent arthroscopic surgery April 18 after game two and was back three games later. How hard core is that?