HENRIK LUNDQVIST slammed his stick in disgust when an overtime loss in Washington put the New York Rangers on the brink of elimination.
Two days later, the star goalie pumped his arm and let out an emphatic yell when his shutout kept the Rangers alive and set up a Game 7 in the nation's capital.
Lundqvist was the difference yesterday in stopping 27 shots for his seventh NHL playoff shutout. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner was perfect in making Derick Brassard's second-period goal stand up in a 1-0 victory over the visiting Capitals that forced a deciding game tonight in the first-round, Eastern Conference series.
"We needed it. There was desperation out there," Lundqvist said. "We showed a lot of character and worked really hard. It was that type of game where you pay the price - big saves, physical. Great win."
Despite having little room for error, the Rangers stayed composed and played a disciplined game in which they took no penalties until a big scrum after the final buzzer.
Now the Rangers hope that can carry over to Game 7 in Washington, where they have lost three times in this tight series. The home team has won all six games.
"They play really well at home and they're confident," Lundqvist said. "The games we've played in that building, special teams have played a big part. We played a really disciplined game, and that's going to be key for us because they have a really good power play, so you have to respect that.
"Play hard, but play smart."
The Rangers earned Game 7 wins at home in last year's playoffs over Ottawa and Washington. If they pull out this victory, it would give them just their second series win after falling behind 0-2.
"We are just going to have the same mentality we had coming into this game," Brassard said. "We just played our game, had fun. The guys were relaxed, and that's what we need to do [tonight]."
Lundqvist was at his best early in the third period when the Capitals came at him in waves. He turned aside Mike Ribeiro, who scored in overtime to win Game 5, with just over 11 minutes remaining, and stopped Eric Fehr 3 minutes later on a rush up the middle.
"Especially late in the game, he made some great saves," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "Last year, and now he has another Game 7, I think that builds. The ultimate goal for Hank in his mind is to win the Stanley Cup, but you need to go through these types of situations to get there."
In another game *
At Toronto, Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel scored third-period goals and the Maple Leafs edged the Boston Bruins, 2-1, to send their playoff series back to Boston for Game 7 tonight.
Not only did the win keep the Leafs alive, it snapped a 54-year run of home playoff failures against the Bruins.
Toronto's previous home playoff win against Boston was March 31, 1959, when the Leafs won, 3-2, in overtime. Nine straight postseason home losses followed in the decades since.
Derek Boogaard's family has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the NHL, the New York Times reported.
In the lawsuit, the family says the NHL is responsible for the brain damage that Boogaard sustained during six seasons as an enforcer in the league, and for his addiction to prescription painkillers.
Boogaard was found dead of an accidental overdose of pain medication and alcohol on May 13, 2011. He was 28. He was posthumously diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain ailment that is caused by repeated blows to the head.
The Times reported the suit was filed late Friday by the Chicago law firm of Corboy & Demetrio, in the Circuit Court of Cook (Ill.) County.
* St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said it was no big deal that he and goalie Jaroslav Halak argued about playing time during the playoffs, calling it an "everyday occurrence."