Washington Capitals 1, New York Rangers 3 (NYR leads the series, 1-0)
Los Angeles Kings 3, St. Louis Blues 1 (LA leads the series, 1-0)
Those Who Shined
1. Jonathan Quick, Goaltender, Los Angeles Kings
Following the Kings impressive series victory over the top-seeded Canucks, I made the prediction that they are going to represent the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals. The biggest reason for this is outstanding goaltender Jonathan Quick. I personally believe he is the best netminder in the NHL and he once again showed his dominance Saturday night. Quick stopped 28 of 29 shots and stepped up impressively after he surrendered his only goal of the game early in the first period. Overall, he entered the contest with a postseason goals against average of 1.59, which only got smaller as the night progressed — a truly amazing statistic for any player to hold after six playoff starts.
2. Chris Kreider, Left Wing, New York Rangers
Coming into the series opener between the Rangers and Capitals the story was rookie netminder Braden Holtby for Washington. However, when the evening came to an end, the new name on everyone’s mind was New York’s rookie Chris Kreider. Kreider first emerged in the postseason when he scored the eventual game-winning goal in game six against the Senators, which just happened to be his first career NHL tally. As for today, his impressive speed in the offensive zone proved to be overwhelming for the Capitals defense as he recorded a goal and an assist. It would be silly to assume that he will continue this production, but if he does, the Rangers can happily lower the expectations for their typical leaders.
3. Henrik Lundqvist, Goaltender, New York Rangers
Not long after learning he is a finalist for the Hart Trophy (league MVP) and Vezina Trophy (Top Goalie), Henrik Lundqvist shutdown the typically dangerous Capitals offense to give the Rangers a one game advantage in the series. Lundqvist sent away 17 of 18 shots, which lowered his postseason goals against average to nearly 1.50. This performance was a major upgrade from the regular season, since he had given up three goals per game to Washington in three matchups. I mentioned it earlier in my series preview and I’ll say it again; if Lundqvist can outplay his rookie counterpart — which shouldn’t be tough — New York will advance.