NHL

2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs: The Devils Outplaying the Rangers? I Don't Think so

NEWARK, NJ - MAY 21:  Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers stands in goal in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Final against the New Jersey Devils during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Prudential Center on May 21, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Mark GoldbergCorrespondent IMay 23, 2012

The talk surrounding the Eastern Conference playoffs to this point is whether or not the New Jersey Devils have outplayed the New York Rangers so far despite the series being tied at two games apiece. The answer to that question is very simple: absolutely not.

It may be true that the Devils have looked like the faster and stronger team at many points through the first four games, but the fact of the matter is New Jersey has been shut out twice in four games.

And why is that, boys and girls? Because the King is between the pipes for the Tri-State area's favorite hockey team.

Sure, the Devils have had more scoring opportunities than the Rangers. They've even had better chances in the games in which they've been shut out. But no matter how hungry the Devils have looked and no matter how tired the Rangers have looked at times, you can't say that the Devils are playing better than the Rangers.

Because Henrik Lundqvist is a Ranger, and no one is playing better than him. 

Goaltending is one of the most important factors in a hockey team's success. That goes double come playoff time, and through these playoffs, Lundqvist has picked up the slack for a lot of his teammates. 

He looked human for the first time this series in Game 4 on Monday night, and even in that game, he can't be totally blamed for all of the goals that he allowed.

Tonight, the teams return to Madison Square Garden. If the Devils manage to solve Lundqvist for the second straight game, people can talk about New Jersey outplaying New York.

Until then, Lundqvist is making that argument sound foolish.

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