Lundqvist, Brassard Keep Rangers Alive Vs. Caps
Henrik Lundqvist stopped 27 shots in earning his seventh NHL playoff shutout, and Derick Brassard scored a second-period goal for the New York Rangers, who stayed alive with a 1-0 victory over the Washington Capitals on Sunday that forced a Game 7 in the first-round series.
Brassard handed Lundqvist the lead at 9:39 of the second period, with a goal that was originally credited to struggling forward Rick Nash.
The reigning Vezina Trophy winner made it stand up, and helped send the series back to Washington for the deciding game Monday night.
The home team has won all six games in the series.
The game ended with a melee in the far left corner in the New York zone after the final buzzer had sounded.
The Rangers played disciplined hockey throughout, and weren’t called for any penalties in the game until after time expired.
The Capitals killed off all five power plays against them, but two in the third period cut out precious time they could have had to net the tying goal.
Defenseman Mike Green left Washington short-handed when he took a retaliation cross-checking penalty on Derek Dorsett with 6:14 remaining. Just after that penalty expired, Lundqvist denied Eric Fehr’s drive with a snaring glove save.
He then covered the puck in front with 48.4 seconds left, keeping Marcus Johansson at bay after the Capitals pulled goalie Braden Holtby for an extra attacker.
Lundqvist was at his best earlier in the third when the Capitals came at him in waves in search of the tying goal. He turned aside Mike Ribeiro, who scored the overtime goal to win Game 5, with just over 11 minutes remaining, and stopped Fehr three minutes later on a rush up the middle.
Lundqvist gave an emphatic fist pump and a joyous yell when time ran out.
Holtby was sharp, as well, in making 28 saves.
The Rangers’ power play continued to be grossly ineffective as it has been the entire series. New York went 0-for-5 on the advantage Sunday — including a 5-on-3 power play that lasted 44 seconds in the first period.
In the six games, the Rangers have scored only two goals in 26 power plays. Both goals came at home. Overall, in three losses in Washington, New York has just two goals.
That will have to change on Monday if the Rangers are to reach the second round for the second straight year.
Brassard, who has had a breakout series, scored his second goal of the playoffs when he faked a shot and then ripped a drive from the Stanley Cup logo just inside the blue line. The puck clipped the glove of Capitals defenseman Steve Oleksy and sailed through a screen set by Rick Nash in front of Holtby.
The goal was originally credited to Nash, who is still looking for his first goal of the series. Nash was more of a presence in front, making more drives to the net in an effort to create more traffic in front of Holtby.
Brassard, a pickup from Columbus in the deal that sent Marian Gaborik to the Blue Jackets at the trade deadline, also had five assists in the first five games of the series.
Lundqvist faced only 15 shots through two periods, but needed to be sharp to keep the Capitals off the board. He made a big pad save with under 5 minutes left in the second to keep the Rangers in the lead.
Despite having just a one-goal edge heading into the third, the Rangers carried the confidence that they could protect it. New York went 16-0 during the regular season when leading after two periods and has earned at least one point in those situations since Feb. 4, 2010.