Thursday, April 23

NHL In Danger Of Losing It's Top Draw

Could this be the curse of E:60? The New York Rangers pulled ahead of the East second seed 3-1 last night on the strength of a 38 save performance by Henrik Lundqvist. This now puts in jeopardy the presence of the NHL's most electrifying player, Alexander Ovenchkin. Ovenchkin did notch a goal last night but it was not enough. Alexander is not only a great draw to the city of Washington, he has thrust himself into the spotlight in a league that is typically dormant in the minds of the American sports fan. He drives fast cars, mingles with LeBron James, does silly commercials, and visits the local erotic dancing establishments.

The energy with which he plays the game is great to watch and the NHL suits have to be sweating now that the Caps are one game from elimination. In their dream scenario the Capitals and Penguins would tangle once again in the Eastern Conference finals. The rivalry between Alexander and Sid the Kid is one that is becoming more tanglible everyday. They are classic contrasts in personality and control on the ice. This could truly be a Magic-Bird era for the NHL if these two continue to collide in the playoffs. Ovenchkin resembles more of Magic, a flamboyant Russian with dazzling moves while Crosby is more of the straight-laced Canadian aloof star.

Yet all that now will require is a rally of 3 straight wins by the Caps over the Rangers. The way Lundqvist is playing right now that might be a longshot. It is the same old adage no matter the sport; pitching wins in baseball, defense wins in football, and great goaltending trumps all in hockey. A hot netminder can take what is an average team and lead them to a deep run- I'm looking at you Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

Henrik's teammates are even having trouble putting his performance thus far into words. Brandon Dubinsky came up with this gem, "He's like Tina Turner, he's Simply the Best." No idea where that came from, the song came out 21 years ago when Dubinsky was 2 years old. Despite the horrible song choice to describe Lundqvist's hot streak, the Rangers are one win away from putting the Capitals beyond Thunderdome.

Rangers overcome Ovechkin's first goal to go up 3-1 on Capitals [CBSSports]
E:60 Video [ESPN]

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