There is a reason that Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist won the Vezina Trophy last year and is one of three nominees for it again this year: he’s without question one of the top goalies in the NHL. The Bruins certainly respect Lundqvist but they’re not intimidated by him as evidenced by Boston beating New York, 5-2, in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Sunday at TD Garden. It had been 151 games since the last time Lundqvist (27 saves) allowed five goals; what’s more, it was the most goals he had given up in 32 career games (regular season and playoffs) against the B’s.
“He’s a great goalie, we know how hard it is to get one past him,” said Bruins winger Brad Marchand (1 goal, 1 assist), who scored 26 seconds into the third period to make it 4-2. “It’s always good to get a goal early in the third period, kind of like the OT goal in Game 1, I was aiming for the backdoor and (Patrice) Bergeron hit me with the pass.”
Lundqvist allowed 12 total goals in New York’s first round series (seven games) vs. Washington, meaning that he almost single-handedly propelled the Rangers to this point by recording shutouts in Games 6 and 7 vs. the Capitals. New York struggles to score goals and it's not helped by the fact that its flatlining power play is 2-for-36 in the postseason including 0-for-21 on the road. The Rangers were 0-for-5 in Game 2 which means that when New York falls behind by two or more goals like they did in the third period, the game is basically out of their reach. It also doesn’t help when their opponent scores the first goal, which is precisely what the Bruins did in Game 1 and 2.
One of the traits that is often shared by great goaltenders is the presence of a short memory. No doubt Lundqvist will have already moved on from the disaster that Game 2 turned out to be for his team by Game 3. New York faces something close to a must-win Tuesday (7:30 p.m., NBCSN) and it will be looking to recover from an 0-2 series deficit like they did against Washington. Even though they did it once before this postseason, history is not on their side since the Rangers are 2-19 when trailing best-of-seven series’ 0-2. Conversely, the Bruins are 21-7 when leading a best-of-seven series 2-0.
After having their own goal-scoring issues for parts of the regular season, not to mention vs. Toronto in the first round, Bruins head coach Claude Julien is happy to see his team find a way to get it done against one of the world’s best goaltenders.
“In the third period we played to win, not on our heels and we extended the lead,” Julien said. “We put pucks at the net and went hard to the net like you saw on the (Milan) Lucic goal. He put on the brakes then popped in the rebound, it’s the little details like that which win us games at this time of year.”
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter @RichSlate