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30 Days of Lundqvist: The Penalty Shot

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2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic - New York Rangers v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

It was January 2, 2012 on a frigid night under the lights at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The New York Rangers were trailing the Philadelphia Flyers 2-0 early in the second period in front of a national audience at the 2012 Bridgestone Winter Classic. Following two absolutely deflating goals by the Flyers, the Rangers somehow rattled off three straight goals over a 15-minute span and suddenly led the game 3-2.

Mike Rupp scored a pair of goals and celebrated with his sensational “Jagr Salute,” and Brad Richards buried a rebound early in the third period. The Rangers had completely shutdown the Flyers following their three goal barrage, and looked poised to close out the game. However, as we all fondly remember, the Tortorella-led Rangers always found a way to make the closing minutes of a game feel like an eternity.

After making a ridiculous toe save on Daniel Briere with just seconds remaining, Ryan McDonagh came to Lundqvist’s aid by sweeping the puck off of the goal line. Unfortunately, he did so in a manner that was considered illegal, and sent everyone’s attention back to center ice for one final showdown.

Briere against Lundqvist. The Penalty Shot.

Given the environment and the pressure of the moment, Henrik Lundqvist never looked fazed even for a second. He starred down Briere as he came in on the crease, and ultimately forced an unfavorable shot. The crowd absolutely erupted after Lundqvist kicked the puck back out to center ice, and Hank followed along with a passionate blocker pump.

Between the Rangers’ improbable comeback in enemy territory and Lundqvist locking up the game with one final save, it was a perfect ending to an incredible night in Philadelphia.