New York Rangers need Henrik Lundqvist to step it up


The New York Rangers once again find themselves in an uncomfortable position, as they trail in their series against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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Unlike against the Washington Capitals, the Rangers are having trouble stopping the opposing team’s offense. In Game 2, Rangers’ goalie Henrik Lundqvist allowed six goals to the Lightning, which figured to be just a blimp in the radar for the normally great Lundqvist.

In Game 3 however, the Lightning were able to once again score six goals on their way to an overtime victory.

The Rangers got off to a perfect start on the road in Game 2 with two quick goals. Shockingly, one minute into the game, the Rangers scored a power-play goal, as Derick Brassard scored his sixth goal of the playoffs. Midway through the first period, the second Rangers’ goal would come from Jesper Fast, as he scored his second goal of the playoffs.

With a two-goal lead and Lundqvist in the net, things were looking good for the Rangers.

After the goal from Fast however, things went downhill quickly. One minute after the Rangers’ second goal of the game, Steven Stamkos would score his fifth goal of the playoffs to cut the lead in half.

In the second period, the great play from the Lightning would continue. At the 10:32 mark, the Lightning would tie the game with Ondrej Palat power-play goal, which was his fifth of the season. Tyler Johnson would score his 12th of the playoffs a few minutes later to give the Lightning the lead. Alex Killorn would score the fourth unanswered goal in the Lightning’s attack of Lundqvist.

Despite allowing four unanswered goals, the Rangers would go into the third period with a late-goal to make it 4-3, as Fast scored his second goal of the game.

In the third period, the Rangers would waste little time tying the game. Ryan McDonagh would score the Rangers’ second power-play goal of the game, which was his third of the playoffs. Palat would score his second goal of the game at the 14:05 mark to give the Lightning a 5-4 lead with less than six minutes to go.

The Rangers would once again not go down without a fight, as Dan Boyle scored his second goal of the playoffs to tie the game 5-5.

In overtime, Nikita Kucherov would score the game-winner with a 27-foot wrist shot to give the Lightning a 6-5 win.

May 20, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) scores a goal past New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) in front of left wing Rick Nash (61) and defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) during the first period of game three of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Once again Lundqvist struggled, as of the 40 shots he faced he made 34 saves for a poor .850 save percentage. It’s not a common thing to say about Lundqvist, but the Lightning certainly have his number.

“It’s really challenging for me, the way they move the puck and find open ice for the shot, the way they get scoring chances from right in front,” said Lundqvist to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, who had blundered by directing a shot to Steven Stamkos’ stick for the Lightning’s first goal. “They’re good, but I need to be more consistent with my game plan.”

The Rangers are still very much alive in the Eastern Conference Finals, but they need more from their King if they are going to make the Stanley Cup Finals.

Next: Who is the best Ranger of all-time?

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