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Playoffs 2013Henrik Lundqvist not taking full blame for OT pains

Posted: Friday, May 17, 2013 | 06:42 PM

Categories: BOS vs NYR, Hockey Night in Canada, Playoffs 2013

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Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist and right-winger Mats Zuccarello pause after the Bruins scored in overtime in Game 1 of their second-round NHL playoff series on Thursday night. Lundqvist has a career 3-11 record in OT. (Charles Krupa/Associated Press) Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist and right-winger Mats Zuccarello pause after the Bruins scored in overtime in Game 1 of their second-round NHL playoff series on Thursday night. Lundqvist has a career 3-11 record in OT. (Charles Krupa/Associated Press)

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New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist reminded the world Thursday night that he can't score and therefore is not fully responsible for his 3-11 career record in overtime. It's a fair point that should be made by others, not a team leader in the midst of a playoff run.
By Jay Greenberg, Special to CBC Sports

For the record, the last Stanley Cup playoff overtime game Henrik Lundqvist won took three extra periods - Game 3 in Washington in 2012. So perhaps that was what he was thinking when he reminded the world that he can't score and therefore is not fully responsible for his 3-11 career record in sudden death.

In the three OT games Lundqvist has lost in the 2013 playoffs, the Rangers failed to score in eight minutes, 9:24 and 15:40.  That's enough time for an offence to get something done, sure, but not exactly has Lundqvist been left waiting impatiently for Pat Lafontaine, Petr Klima or Mud Bruneteau.  

So was there an excuse for the Rangers goalie, who, to be fair had just beaten himself up for allegedly misplaying Brad Marchand's redirection that won Game 1 for Boston, to blurt out the following after the 3-2 loss

"I've got to be really careful to ask myself the right question there," said Lundqvist.

"Have I played bad in overtime? No. Can I score? No. Is it frustrating? Yes.

"It was terrible in overtime (15-4 Bruins shot advantage), but I've just got to stick with it, play my game and hopefully it will turn around."

Lundqvist seems well-liked by his teammates, despite the fact that he has been known to occasionally come up barking after goals when he perceives somebody blew an assignment. He also has faced the second-most shots against per game - 34.2 - of any squad still playing in this tournament.

That said, The King also plays for a team devoted to shot-blocking and that has cleared its share of pucks off the goalline. So what point was Lundqvist making?

Only that he didn't want to take the full hit for his overtime record, a fair point that should be made by others, not a team leader in the midst of a playoff run. Actually, this shouldn't be said by a goaltender ever.

Defence watch

Bruins head coach Claude Julien is keeping the light on for his three injured defencemen, not making it sound like Andrew Ference and Dennis Seidenberg will have any trouble regaining their spots in the rotation when they heal.

Wade Redden, who was booed heavily at Madison Square Garden while he was proving to be a cap-clogging mistake - probably the largest of the Glen Sather era in New York - might be a different story considering the way Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski played in Game 1. 

This may be a case of "The Innocent Climb" that basketball's Pat Riley termed in his book in reference to an ascendant team or player's obliviousness to pressure.  But it also is incredible depth being demonstrated by the Boston franchise.

"They did exactly what they had to do and that's why I commend them for such a great job," Julien said. "They didn't sit on their heels.

"They didn't freeze and try to move the puck standing still. They carried it when they had the ice and there's no doubt that gave us a real good transition game. Whether some of those guys come back or not, we have to do the same thing.

"It's a little early to say. But again, it is two days and two days in the playoffs makes a big difference as far as getting guys back. So there is a possibility. That much I can say."

Marc Staal, still more accomplished and valuable to the Rangers than any of the missing Bruins are to Boston (as long as Zdeno Chara is playing), joined an optional practice late on Friday.  It was the first sight of him on the ice in several days.

Gotta go for it, says Torts

Tortorella would not beat up Derick Brassard, who has become the Rangers' go-to scorer, for a horizontal pass that Zdeno Chara tipped to send Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand away for the winning goal in the series opener.

"It's the right play," said the coach. "If the puck gets over to [Rick] Nash, he has a great scoring chance."

Bruins' last three wins have been in overtime while the Rangers are the aforementioned 0-3. Does time hand heavy on the hands of a team that doesn't have the deepest set of hands, waiting to finally get a bounce at the right time?

"I don't think it's playing with their heads at all," said Tortorella. "It would be nice to win one [but] I don't think it's gotten that far.

"Not so sure it was a bounce of the puck last night. We were dominated in overtime."

Follow Jay Greenberg on Twitter @ScribeJG

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