Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 5/15/12

Even Devils star Martin Brodeur, a three-time Stanley Cup champion and the winningest goaltender in NHL history, acknowledged before the Eastern Conference finals began that Henrik Lundqvist is the "top goalie in the NHL."

Whether that was simply gamesmanship or not from the proven playoff performer, Lundqvist seemed impervious to the pressure of that mantel with a 21-save performance in the Rangers' 3-0 win in Game 1 over Brodeur and New Jersey on Monday night in New York.

"Every time you play against great players, it's exciting," Lundqvist said after his fifth career postseason blanking. "Coming into the league, playing against Marty, growing up (in Sweden) he was already a big guy over here, a big name.

"So, of course, it's inspiring and exciting play against top guys. It always is. It's always been fun. It's a great challenge for me to play against him."

The play of the two star goalies figures to be the key to this series between the two local rivals, with a chance to advance to the Stanley Cup finals on the line. This is the first time in Lundqvist's career he's been past the second round.

"I think it's going to be a tight series. Just a big battle out there," Lundqvist said. "And I thought we made a couple of big plays there when it was a 1-0 game. They had a few chances to tie it up. They didn't, and instead we scored the second one.

"I expect it to be just a big war out there for I don't know how many games. But I look forward to it. It's a fun and intense out there, but I enjoyed it."

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