By John Cascio Jr
Henrik Lundqvist’s return to the net for the Rangers proved to be key in winning the game. After 4 games letting Cam Talbot take the reigns, the King took his place again and provided a spectacular demonstration of why he was signed to a long term deal.
The Rangers started the game hard, dominating the first five minutes of play. The forecheck was working, everyone seemed dialed in and was passing very crisply. After one period, New York and Tampa were knotted at two, both offenses playing equally well. Defense was to be the key and in the second period the Rangers came out of their shell a bit. The power play was working and the Rangers’ two goals on each was impressive, New York took a 4-2 lead into the third, looked comfortable but you really never know.
The third period started out fast and hard. St. Louis and company were determined to make something happen and they succeeded near the eight minute mark when Filpulla scored on a deflection that was nearly impossible to stop, cutting the lead to one goal. The Rays surged from that point on, trapping New York and making any offensive zone time hard to get.
Henrik stole the show from there on, stopping the next 16 shots and shutting down the Lightning to notch the win. The flurry of the last ten minutes is a blur, at times Henrik stopped 4-6 shot attempts in mere seconds, robbing Purcell, St. Louis and Filpulla on multiple occasions, and making a very vocal Florida crowd go silent. The focus is back, the team’s drive is back, the decision making on ice is better and all in all, the King’s return was a solid one.