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Lundqvist leads Rangers past Caps 5-0 in Game 7

Tuesday - 5/14/2013, 12:06pm  ET

New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30), from Sweden, stops the puck with his skate, in the first period, of Game 7 first-round NHL Stanley Cup playoff hockey series against the Washington Capitals, Monday, May 13, 2013 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

HOWARD FENDRICH
AP Sports Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Midway through the third period of an anticlimactic -- and unprecedented -- Game 7 road victory for his New York Rangers, goalie Henrik Lundqvist fell forward while smothering a puck to stifle yet another chance for the Washington Capitals.

Chants of "Hen-reeek! Hen-reeek!" poured forth from the Rangers supporters in the stands, no longer outnumbered because thousands of Capitals fans already had headed for the exits.

It's been more than a decade since a goalie was as perfect over Games 6 and 7 of a playoff series as Lundqvist was. Yes, he certainly had help in the finale Monday night, including goals from some unlikely teammates. Still, there is one key explanation, above all others, for why the Rangers are heading to the Eastern Conference semifinals.

"Henrik Lundqvist," Capitals forward Troy Brouwer said. "Plain and simple."

Led by Lundqvist's 35 saves in a second consecutive shutout, the Rangers beat the Capitals 5-0 to wrap up an otherwise tense and tight seven-game series, eliminating Alex Ovechkin and Washington for the second year in a row.

"Goaltending is the big thing," said Arron Asham, a fourth-line winger whose goal gave him a pair for the series, twice as many as two-time NHL MVP Ovechkin. "Hank's been our backbone all year."

The last goalie to pull off the double shutouts in Games 6-7 was Detroit's Dominik Hasek in 2002 against Colorado, according to STATS.

"There's moments where you enjoy it and you think, 'Wow, this is great.' And you have fun. But there's also moments where you don't feel great. You feel the pressure and you just want to get it done, so badly," Lundqvist said. "You try to control your emotions. That's the key for me. I'm an emotional guy when I play. I try to just stay calm. Good or bad. I just try to stay calm and focus on my thing."

Did that rather well on Sunday and Monday, lifting his career postseason shutout total to eight.

"He was really good, but the team was also good, too. I have to give the team some credit. They played hard in front of him," Rangers coach John Tortorella said.

Lundqvist, Ovechkin said, did an "unbelievable job; he makes incredible saves."

By winning a Game 7 on the road for the first time in its history, New York completed its comeback after trailing in the series 2-0 and 3-2 -- the latest in Washington's long history of playoff collapses.

Now the sixth-seeded Rangers face the No. 4 Bruins, with Game 1 on Thursday at Boston. The Original Six rivals have not met in the playoffs since 1973.

"We'll enjoy this one tonight," Rangers forward Rick Nash said, "and then get back to work."

Nash was held without a goal in the first round by Washington, but New York found other scorers.

Asham put New York ahead in the first period. Taylor Pyatt and Michael Del Zotto made it 3-0 early in the second on goals 2:10 apart. Ryan Callahan added a goal 13 seconds into the third period, before Mats Zuccarello scored with about 13
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