The New York Rangers opened the playoffs in style, beating the Canadiens, 2-0, in Montreal behind a 31-save shutout by Henrik Lundqvist on Wednesday.
Montreal went 3-0 against New York during the regular season, but Tanner Glass gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead in the first period and Lundqvist took it from there.
“It was one of the great goaltending performances – by both goalies,” NBC Sports MSG color analyst Joe Micheletti said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Lundqvist had to be good in the first, Carey Price was spectacular in the first 10 minutes of the second to keep it a 1-0 game, and Lundqvist was spectacular in the last six or seven minutes of the second period to keep it 1-0. The atmosphere was just tremendous, and the play on both sides was excellent. It was just a heck of a hockey game.”
Lundqvist, who turned 35 in March, has spent his entire 12-year career with the Rangers. He led New York to the Stanley Cup Final in 2014, but the Rangers lost to the Kings in five games.
“That’s the only thing that’s missing on his resume,” Micheletti said. “He’s done everything. He’s won Olympic gold, he’s been to All-Star Games, he’s made more money than you and I can ever dream of – the guy’s a rock star. He’s like the fifth Beatle in New York. But the one thing that bothers him is the fact that he hasn’t won a Stanley Cup. I’ve been around him almost his entire career, and I’ve never been around a more competitive player than Henrik Lundqvist – not only in games, but in practice. He hates when players score on him in practice, his preparation is second to none, and he turned 35. Are they running out of time? Yes, they are with this core.”
Lundqvist allowed 2.74 goals per game this year – the highest of his career. That coincided with a .910 save percentage – the lowest of his career.
“He’s had an uneven season – one like I’ve never seen out of him,” Micheletti said. “Everybody goes through highs and lows during the course of the regular season, but the lows that he had this season were nothing like we had seen before. But when everybody says, ‘That’s it for The King. He can’t do it anymore,’ guess what? He said, ‘Not quite. Not quite yet.’ He comes back, he prepares himself, he fights back, he does everything he can to get his game back – and that’s what we saw. It was a great performance.”
Game 2 is Friday in Montreal at 7 p.m. ET.