Originally posted on Red Light District Hockey  |  Last updated 5/15/12
When it comes to the rivalry between the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils, goaltending is always a key part of the conversation.


When you have had netminders like Martin Brodeur, Mike Richter and Henrik Lundqvist, it is hard not to focus on netminding. That is exactly the case for the Eastern Conference Finals this postseason between the Blueshirts and Devils as both teams are battling to represent the East in the Cup Final.

In Game 1, it was all about the Rangers' Lundqvist.

Lundqvist was solid in making 21 saves to pick up his second shutout of the postseason, as well as his fifth victory in his last six meetings against Brodeur, the Devils' future Hall of Famer.

One of the reasons why this game was scoreless going into the second period was the play of Lundqvist. In the first period, Lundqvist robbed Devils' rookie forward Adam Henrique with a great glove save and, later that period, made a nice half-breakaway save on Devils' sniper Zach Parise.

Lundqvist was even better in the second period. He made 11 saves, including a frantic flurry from Parise, to keep the game 0-0 heading into the third.

While he was not as busy as his counterpart was in the third period in making four saves compared to Brodeur's seven, Lundqvist did what he had to do to preserve a Game 1 victory and take a 1-0 series lead. In the end, it was the fifth postseason shutout of his career and a victory that puts him one closer to his team's ultimate goal: the Stanley Cup.

For the Blueshirts, this should come as no surprise. Lundqvist has been one of the league's most consistent goaltenders since his rookie season in 2005-06 and one that thrives against playing Brodeur.
"I think it's because of him," Brodeur said. "I don't know how many times he's shut us down and played so well.
Brodeur also acknowledged that Lundqvist is one of the league's best right now prior to Game 1.
"Well, I mean, he's a Vezina candidate," Brodeur said. "I don't know, he's unbelievable lately. He's kind of the top goalie in the NHL right now. And I think I was in that position once. I played against Patrick [Roy], played against Dominik Hasek, I played against all the guys that maybe were in the top years in their career, but for me it's kind of nice to be able to compete against them, regardless of what's going to happen.
"I'll do my best to try to match up, but it's going to be pretty hard. He's a pretty good goalie." While there is no doubting that Brodeur is one of the greatest goaltenders to play the game, it is Lundqvist's time to shine.

With just three more wins remaining to get to his first Cup Final, the glow around Lundqvist is getting brighter already.

Photo credit: Getty Images
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