Fans of the NHL Playoffs were treated to not one, not two, but three stellar goaltending efforts last night.
In the first game of the evening, the New York Rangers found themselves on the brink of elimination, having dug themselves an 0-3 hole against the Boston Bruins. It’s safe to say that the Rangers might want to address their offense in the offseason – it’s bad. Not bad, as in “good, in a nasty way.” No, bad as, “Why are you afraid to score any goals, New York? Seen too many Friday the 13th movies?!?” Yeah – as bad as that joke. Last night their offense was outshot by Boston’s 40-32, but they managed to eke out an overtime win due in large part to Henrik Lundqvist, who made 37 saves and is really the only reason the Rangers even made it out of the first round. Facing elimination against a Boston squad that would have love to have closed out this team and winning in overtime – that’s some clutch net-minding right there.
Detroit’s goaltender Jimmy Howard was not facing elimination last night, but he was facing a desperate Chicago Blackhawks team that was starting to feel the weight of the lofty expectations their stellar regular season has placed on their shoulders. Chicago did not want to have to return home with their tails between their legs and a 3-1 deficit staring them in the eyes . . . but thanks to Howard’s 28-save shutout performance, that is exactly what the Blackhawks must now do. What makes this shutout even more impressive is the fact that this was Howard’s 20th consecutive start for the Red Wings! That’s crazy, and the dude should be exhausted – yet he just posted his first shutout of these playoffs, against the team almost everyone picked to represent the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals.
And oh, by the way, Jonathan Quick recorded his second shutout in LA’s series against the San Jose Sharks, and his third of these playoffs, leading the Kings to a 3-2 lead over the Sharks. I hate to be so blase about Quick’s
accomplishment, especially since San Jose had defeated the Kings twice in the Shark Tank, and were looking to steal a game in the Staples Center so they could finish off the defending champs back home in the Tank. But come on – it’s Jonathan Quick. He has seven shutouts in his playoff career – and he’s only 27. I want to cry just typing that. He has faced 330 shots in his playoff career – and stopped 313 of them. Plus, he was playing at home in the Staples Center last night, where the Kings have not lost yet during this postseason. I guess you can still vote for him, though!
So whaddya think?