Found April 28, 2012 on Around The Rink:

Photo Credit: David Mills, New York Times

Recent postseason rivals meet again. This is the third time in the past four years that the Rangers and Capitals have played each other , with the Capitals having bested the Rangers in both of the previous two meetings. Both teams are coming off seven-game series, and won with a combination of great goaltending, balanced offense and by keeping games close.

Statistical Leaders
New York
Goals: Brian Boyle (3)
Points: Brad Richards (5)
Goaltending: Henrik Lundqvist (7 starts, 4 wins, 1.70 GAA, .945 Save %)

Goals: Alexander Semin (3)
Points: Alexander Ovechkin (5)
Goaltending: Braden Holtby (7 starts, 4 wins, 2.00 GAA, .940 Save %)

2011-12 Head-to-head Matchup: Washington and New York met four times in the regular season, with each team winning two of the matchups. Washington did outscore the Rangers 13-11, but that’s not enough of a difference to give the Capitals a clear advantage in this category.
Advantage: Even

Offense: Neither team has been particularly good at scoring goals this postseason. New York averaged an even two goals per game in the first round; Washington came in a little higher at 2.29. During the regular season, these two were about dead even in that same category as well; the Rangers averaged 2.71 goals/game, the Capitals averaged 2.67. Neither team is clearly better on offense, so this one’s a dead heat.
Advantage: Even

Defense: This is definitely a strong suit for the Rangers. They’re a team that is quite adept at blocking shots, and get effort from every one of their skaters in that category. They also allowed fewer shots on goal in both the regular season (27.8 to 30.2) and the playoffs (31.1 to 35.4) than the Capitals.
Advantage: New York

Goaltending: Goaltending is really the key to how both teams advanced in the first round. The Rangers got their usual stellar play from Vezina and Hart Trophy nominee Henrik Lundqvist; and the Capitals got nothing short of a small miracle from Braden Holtby, who started all seven first-round games and was phenomenal for them despite being an injury call-up after Tomas Vokoun and Michal Neuvirth got hurt at the end of the regular season. Still, Lundqvist has long shown that he is one of the best goaltenders in the league, despite his playoff struggles in years past.
Advantage: New York

Special Teams: The power-play units of these two teams have pretty much been dead even in terms of production this postseason. Washington has converted 15.8% of their chances; New York has converted 15.6% of theirs. This is a near-mirror image of their regular season proficiency; Washington and New York converted 16.7 and 15.7% of their power play chances, respectively. As for the penalty killing-proficiency of each team, Washington has been great in the postseason but was average in the regular season; New York has been average in the postseason but was great in the regular season. Washington’s been better on special teams recently; New York showed they could do it better over a longer period of time, this is a wash.
Advantage: Even

Prediction: This is going to be a close series, with most games in all likelihood being decided by a goal. And no matter who wins, this will be the first time that at least one of these two franchises advances to the Eastern Conference Finals since the NHL lockout in 2005. Washington has seemed to have had Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers’ number in years past, but this may be the year that the Rangers finally break through.
Forecast: Rangers in seven.


Photo: The Game 7 Hat Goes To Henrik Lundqvist

… Well deserved!  Henrik was a BRICK WALL in the first round and really was the difference when the Senators turned up the tempo. 

Lundqvist Was Focused Last Night

TheNYRBlog reader Zach R. sends me this amazing pic he took of Henrik Lundqvist getting focused during warm-ups before Game 7 last night...Here's Lundqvist's teammates on his play last night (via Newsday)...Marian Gaborik..."Hank stood on his head. He made unbelievable saves there."Dan Girardi..."He is one of the best goalies in the league, if not the best...

Lundqvist, Malkin, Stamkos are Hart finalists

Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers, center Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins and center Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning are the finalists for the Hart Trophy for the NHL's most valuable player in the regular season. The winner will be announced June 20 at the NHL awards ceremony in Las Vegas. Lundqvist, also a finalist for the Vezina Trophy...

Lundqvist among Hart finalists

Just one day after leading the Rangers past the Ottawa Senators in the first round, and two days after being announced as a Vezina finalist, Henrik Lundqvist joins the Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin and the Lightning’s Steven Stamkos as the three Hart trophy finalists for the league MVP. Lundqvist had by far the best season of his career this year, posting a 1.97 GAA (4th in the NHL...

Rangers, Capitals open second-round series

Henrik Lundqvist leads Rangers into second round vs. Caps.

NHL announces Hart Trophy finalists

New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, Penguins center Evgeni Malkin and Lightning center Steven Stamkos were named Friday as the finalists for the 2011-12 NHL Hart Memorial Trophy. Lundqvist, who led New York to a first place finish in the Easter Conference, becomes the first goalie to finish in the top three in league MVP voting since 2006-07. The Rangers netminder recorded...

Rangers move on with Game 7 win

Rangers defensemen Marc Staal and Dan Girardi scored 4:18 apart in the second period, Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves and top-seeded New York eliminated the pesky eighth-seeded Ottawa Senators from the playoffs with a 2-1 victory in Game 7 on Thursday night. Staal broke the scoreless deadlock, and Girardi gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead with his first career NHL playoff goal. Lundqvist...

Your Hart Memorial Trophy Finalists

NEW YORK (April 27, 2012)—Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers, center Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins and center Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning are the three finalists for the 2011-12 Hart Memorial Trophy, awarded ” to the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team,” the National Hockey League announced today.Continue reading "...

Lightning's Stamkos among Hart finalists

NEW YORK (AP) -- Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers, center Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins and center Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning are the finalists for the Hart Trophy for the NHL's most valuable player in the regular season. The winner will be announced June 20 at the NHL awards ceremony in Las Vegas. Lundqvist, also a finalist for...

ECSF Game 1: Capitals at Rangers

Series: Tied 0-0 NYR Leading Scorer: Brad Richards (2-3-5) OTT Leading Scorer: Alex Ovechkin (2-3-5) NYR Goaltender: Henrik Lundqvist (7 GS, 1.70 GAA, .940 SV%) OTT Goaltender: Braden Holtby (7 GS, 2.00 GAA, .940 SV%) Rangers Lines (Confirmed): Carl Hagelin-Brad Richards-Marian Gaborik Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Ryan Callahan Ruslan Fedotenko-Brandon Dubinsky-Brandon Prust Artem...


Well, that was … frustrating. Not sure what’s more embarrassing–that the Capitals couldn’t score on a two-man advantage or several power plays, or that the Rangers couldn’t manage to score with no one in net for the Caps during the final two minutes of the game. Since the Rangers actually won 3-1, we’ll give them the last laugh this time. But what made the game so frustrating...

Marian Gaborik The Ghost Of Round 1: Is He Choking?

There is plenty to be happy about with the Rangers first-round win over the Senators. They faced their biggest adversity of the season and were able to overcome it. Henrik Lundqvist looked like the world-class goaltender we all believe he is. Brad Richards and Derek Stepan stepped up when they were most needed. Chris Kreider [...]

Morning Skate: April 27

The Morning After:Yesterday’s results:Rangers 2, Senators 1Devils 3, Panthers 2 (2OT)RLD 3 stars of the night:1. Adam Henrique, NJ (2 goals)2. Henrik Lundqvist, NYR (26 saves)3. Dan Girardi, NYR (1 goal)---Tonight’s slate:Predators @ Coyotes, 9:00 ET, Game 1#4 Nashville Predators @ #3 Phoenix CoyotesGame 1… 9:00 ET… TV: NBC Sports Network, TSNSeason series: Tied 2-2Projected...
NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.