Ottawa Senators 1, New York Rangers 2 (NYR wins the series, 4-3)
New Jersey Devils 3, Florida Panthers 2 (2OT) (NJ wins the series, 4-3)
Those Who Shined
1. Martin Brodeur, Goaltender, New Jersey Devils
Just days before his 40th birthday, the legend, Martin Brodeur, stepped up in a big way for his Devils. He saved 43 of 45 shots (12 of which came in extra time) in the thrilling double overtime victory over the Florida Panthers in game seven of this first round battle. To accomplish this he had to protect his net for a startling 84 minutes and withstand a violent Panthers attack in the third period that quickly erased an early two-goal deficit. Broduer will now face an even more daunting task, as New Jersey prepares for the lethal offense of the Philadelphia Flyers. But, it’s all about surviving, one day at a time; and, that’s exactly what they did today.
2. Adam Henrique, Center, New jersey Devils
The Devils outstanding rookie must have read my post Thursday afternoon that predicted that the Oilers’ Ryan Nugent-Hopkins would win the award for the NHL’s top rookie, because he was unstoppable in game seven. Henrique entered the contest with one point (an assist) for the entire series, but he exploded for two of New Jersey’s goals, including the overtime tally that sent them to the second round. This was obviously the first postseason overtime goal in his young career, and it came at the perfect time. It’ll be interesting if he can find the same success against the Flyers’ Ilya Bryzgalov.
3. Henrik Lundqvist, Goaltender, New York Rangers
Similar to Jonathan Quick and the Los Angeles Kings, I truly believe that the Rangers can go only as far as their all-star goalie takes them. On Thursday, Lundqvist fueled the wild crowd at Madison Square Garden, as he saved 26 of 27 snipes from the Senators to send New York into the second round. The outstanding effort kept his goals against average for the series well below two, which is an excellent mark for any netminder. Lundqvist and the top-seeded Rangers will now prepare for Alex Ovechkin and the offensive-minded Washington Capitals — a very intriguing series in my opinion.