'King' Henrik Leads Rangers to Conference Finals
Next to the Boston Bruins, the Pittsburgh Penguins were the biggest favorites from the Eastern Conference to play in the Stanley Cup Finals. Now, they both will be watching the finals, rather than playing in them.
Pittsburgh was up 3-games-to-1 and it looked as ending this series was only a matter of formality. Then, led by Henrik Lundqvist, New York took charge. The Rangers’ goalie only allowed three goals the last three games of the series. King Henrik stopped over 100 shots in Games 5, 6 and 7. He was especially sharp in Game 7, making 35 saves as New York won 2-1. Brad Richards scored the go-ahead goal for the Rangers in the second period, as New York advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second time since 2012.
Lundqvist's Rangers will face the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 on Saturday. The opening money line has the Rangers at +114 and the Habs at -126.
Lundqvist has been a brilliant leader on the ice for the Rangers and his playoff performances are the main reason for advancing his team through two series. There is also the factor that his defense and a little luck helped him. Jussi Jokinen, who had a brilliant post season with seven goals was held to one in Game 7. The Penguins’ captain, Sydney Crosby, was a disappointment, only scoring one goal in two rounds of play. As a team the Penguins were terrible in this series on the power play. Pittsburgh was 1-20. The Penguins have blown a 3-1 series lead for the second time since 2011.They have also lost three Game 7’s in the last five years. As a result, many expect current Penguins’ head coach Dan Bylsma to lose his job.
At the end of the day, the Rangers won because they have the better goalie. The five-time Vezina nominated goalie put another feather in his cap last night. He is without question the greatest goalie in Rangers history. He has the record for most Rangers shutouts (50) and wins (309). While those numbers are impressive, perhaps Lundqvist’s greatest accomplishment is his consecutive Game 7 wins. “King Henrik” has won five Game 7’s in a row. This stat is the main reason why some experts went against the grain and picked New York to win last night; even though they were +142 underdogs on the road.
* Betting lines mentioned in this article are subject to change due to time sensitivity. Please visit the sports betting lines for up to date odds.
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