MATT: After allowing three goals in his first period at Yankee Stadium on Sunday afternoon against the Devils, Henrik Lundqvist surrendered just one over the final five. No. 30 was superb Wednesday night against a potent Islanders offense that he said after the game is dangerous due to their skill and speed. The Islanders jumped out to a big shot advantage, but Lundqvist shut the door and kept his club in it. While he allowed one lale in the second period, Lundqvist was sharp in the final period, especially in the final two minutes when the Islanders were pushing to knot the game before the clock ran out. After the game, Lundqvist spoke with Sam Rosen and you could see how important this game — including Sunday's — were to The King. He said these are two games he'll remember the rest of his life, and no doubt we will as well.
My second star can really go to the entire fourth line, but I'll give it to the man who scored the game-winner, Daniel Carcillo. The four-man rush down the ice on the goal just overwhelmed the Islanders, and the Rangers capitalized with the numbers. Carcillo found himself at the right place at the right time, and slammed home the rebound for his third of the season, and one that like Lundqvist, he'll remember forever. Carcillo made the most of his team-low 7:00, with the goal, three shots, two hits and a takeaway.
Not to take the easy way out in taking just the goal scorers, but I'm going to go with Benoit Pouliot. His goal was just simply huge. No team wants to give up a late goal like the Rangers did in the second period and enter the third down with the other team carrying the momentum over. Pouliot's quick answer was crucial for the Rangers, as it yanked momentum right back from the Islanders heading into the final period. Pouliot, along with Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello, were huge in the two games at Yankee Stadium.
JIM: No question that Henrik Lundqvist was the best player on the ice for either team Wednesday night. His game was much more together and sound than on Sunday when he seemed to be battling the conditions and trying to find a comfort level. That was never an issue against the Islanders; and he was real sharp to start the second period when the Isles had a stretch of about eight minutes to start the middle stanza where they just owned the puck in the Rangers zone. Lundqvist was his team's backbone, and as such the Rangers come through with a sweep of the Stadium Series and he personally raised his career outdoor games mark to 3-0-0, while standing out as a great ambassador for the game and these events throughout.
I am with you about the fourth line, that whole group shined again on Wednesday night, and all three forwards were difference makers. But Daniel Carcillo has to snag Second Star honors because he scored the clutch goal, the game-winner in the third period. No player for either team ended up with less ice time than Carcillo who played 7 minutes, but he was credited with three shots on goal over his 11 shifts, as well as two hits, and went hard to the net to score the winning goal. That's called making the most of your chances.
I am going with Dan Girardi as my Third Star. He was real solid Wednesday, much better than he was in Sunday's outdoor game against the Devils, and was particularly effective in helping shut down John Tavares' line--though credit Lundqvist quite a bit, too--and on the penalty kill where the Rangers had three huge kills through two periods of play and finished a perfect 4-for-4 on the night. Girardi blocked four shots, was physical and positionally sound, and like the rest of the team, did a great job shutting the Isles down in that third period.