Only two games were played in the NHL last night and all the action was contained to New York as the Rangers hosted the Bruins and Islanders welcomed the Senators. Both clubs from the Big Apple picked up victories Wednesday and both did so in part thanks to outstanding stops by the hometown netminders.
But with two potential save of the year stops coming on the same night from goaltenders who both call New York home we just had to put the saves head-to-head.
First up is the stop by the Islanders’ Jean-Francois Berube, a first-period save that could have changed the outcome of Wednesday’s game had the young netminder been unable to glove the puck. Less than seven minutes into the first frame, the Senators entered the Islanders’ zone with no New York defenders picking up a streaking Jean-Gabriel Pageau. Ottawa’s Mark Stone spotted Pageau and threw a pass towards him that was deflected on goal and stopped by Berube.
The save left a rebound sitting there, though, and Stone beat the Islanders’ defense to the loose puck. Thankfully for the Islanders, Berube was able to dart across the crease and rob Stone with a diving glove save:
Berube’s stop kept the game scoreless and that tie wouldn’t be broken until the second frame when the Islanders netted three goals in less than 10 minutes. They rolled to a 3-1 victory, and Berube, with 22 stops, was named the game’s first star.
Across town at Madison Square Garden, Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist was under siege and hoping to keep the Blueshirts ahead and secure two points in the third frame when he made his spectacular stop.
With the Rangers up 3-1, a puck was fired on net by Boston’s Brad Marchand and Lundqvist was able to fight the shot off, but it left a rebound sitting to his left with Bruins winger Lee Stempniak barreling towards the puck. Stempniak swatted the puck on goal and towards the empty net, but Lundqvist was able to reach back with his glove and keep the puck from completely crossing the goal line:
The play had to be reviewed and it was ruled inconclusive, so the no-goal call on the ice stood.
One great part about Lundqvist’s stop on Stempniak is that he got another whack at the puck once Lundqvist made the initial stop, and the Rangers netminder was able to stop both attempts. Then, after the second save, Lundqvist looks into his glove to make sure he has the puck.
As for which stop is better, the nod might have to go to Berube. His diving stop helped the Islanders keep the game scoreless and provided them the opportunity to pick up a much-needed victory to keep pace in the Metropolitan Division and the Eastern Conference wild-card race.