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NHL Playoffs: Lundqvist sensational in Rangers win over Senators, Bruins and Blues also winners
New York Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist made 39 stops in leading the Rangers to a 1-0 win over the Ottawa Senators. While Zdeno Chara's late third period goal lifted the visiting Boston Bruins to a 4-3 victory over the Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.
While he is often referred to as King Henrik by most Ranger fans, the New York netminder was at his very best on Monday night, leading the Rangers to a 1-0 victory over a far superior Ottawa Senators side. The Sens carried much of the play and had the better scoring chances on the night but were unable to to beat the Rangers goaltender, despite holding a 39-23 advantage on the shot clock.
Senators goalie Craig Anderson was very sharp in the other net but was ultimately beat at the 7:32 mark of the third period, by centre Brian Boyle. Boyle has been a thorn in the Senators side all series long. He was not only the reason for the punch up that occurred during game two but he has also scored in all three games of the series.
While both netminders were solid through forty minutes, Lundqvist saved his best work for the final period. He made a great pad stop off Colin Greening only seconds before Boyle scored the game winner but he saved his best moment of the night for late in the game. With Anderson on the Senators bench for an extra attacker and Ottawa with complete control in the visitors zone, the New York puck stopper absolutely stoned Kyle Turris from slot not once but twice, to secure the Rangers lead and put them up for the second time in the series.
Both teams were missing players that were either hurt or suspended for their parts in Saturday night's chippy affair at Madison Square Gardens. The Senators were without defenceman Matt Carkner, who was suspended one game for his role in the melee, while Daniel Alfredsson also missed the contest after suffering a concussion courtesy of a head shot from New York's Carl Hagelin. There was no timetable for the Sens captain's return but the Ranger's will be without the services of until game number six, if necessary, after being suspended three games for his ill placed elbow.
Boston 4 Washington 3 (Bruins lead series 2-1)
After two low scoring overtime games to open the series, game three between the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins seemed headed for an extra session for a third straight time. Unfortunately for the Caps, Zdeno Chara would have none of that. The Bruins captain scored the game winner with just under two minutes to play, leading the defending Stanley Cup Champions to a 4-3 victory.
Brooks Laich had three points in the losing effort, while Alex Ovechkin added a goal and an assist for the Capitals. Chara also chipped in with a pair of helpers to go with his game winner and Milan Lucic was a force all night long, despite being held off the score sheet.
After veteran Brian Rolston put Boston ahead early in the third period, it looked as though Washington was headed for certain defeat. That was until a brilliant bang pass from Nicklas Backstrom, sent Laich in all alone on Tim Thomas and the Caps made no mistake, beating the Bruins netminder was a lovely move to even things up at three.
With overtime looming and each side playing four aside, Chara's innocent looking point shot deflected off the stick of defenceman Roman Hamrlik and over a helpless Braden Holtby. The goal was a back breaker, as the Capitals amounted next to nothing over the final two minutes and now find themselves down two games to one.
After the final buzzer, Backstrom was assessed a match penalty for cross checking Rich Peverley in the head after the two collided. A match penalty automatically carries a suspension until the play is reviewed by league officials. That being said, Washington's head coach Dale Hunter said he fully expects the match penalty to be rescinded after the altercation is reviewed.
St.Louis 4 San Jose 3 (Blues lead series 2-1)
With their starting netminder Jaroslav Halak on the sidelines due to injury, all signs were pointing to the St.Louis Blues looking to be in pretty tough heading into Game Three of their first round series against the San Jose Sharks. Apparently, no one let the Blues in on the script as the visitors jumped out to a 4-1 lead and held on to beat the Sharks 4-3.
Andy McDonald and Carlo Colaiacovo had three points a piece to lead the charge upfront, while Patrik Berglund, Alex Steen and Jason Arnott each chipped in with a goal and an assist. St.Louis was lethal on the man advantage, scoring three of their four goals on the power play.
Sharks centre Joe Thornton picked up three helpers in the loss and goaltender Antti Niemi was at his usual inconsistent best, as he literally handed the Blues a couple of freebies. Where as St.Louis starter Brian Elliott was solid all night long, earning in his first career playoff victory, stopping twenty-six San Jose shots.
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