Today is May 13, 2020 and with the NHL remaining on pause, now’s as good a time as any to take a look at what May 13th has meant to the New York Rangers in recent history.
Henrik Lundqvist had a 35-save Game 7 victory on May 13 2013, May 13 2014, & May 13 2015 https://t.co/BN4djAMrZG— HockeyStatMiner (@HockeyStatMiner) March 22, 2020
Lundqvist played some of his best hockey during this period, and was practically a cheat code.
Unless you're Henrik Lundqvist in which case you're literally a god among men pic.twitter.com/O6W84l5kOY— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) March 29, 2020
There’s a lot unknown regarding Hank’s future, so why not reminisce on some incredibly entertaining moments from his past, and get lost for a few minutes in some highlights that will put a smile on your face?
May 13, 2013
Game 7 vs. Washington took place just a day after Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals as a byproduct of the condensed schedule that was put in place due to lockout which saw regular season action begin in January. In Game 6, the Rangers tied the series up after Lundqvist recorded a 27-save shutout during a Sunday afternoon game at Madison Square Garden. Derick Brassard scored the lone goal. Less than 24 hours later both teams took the ice in Washington, DC for the pivotal seventh game.
I can remember being very nervous at the time because up to this point, the home team had won every game of the series. Game 1 featured the Rangers scoring first but losing in regulation, Game 2 was a 1-0 overtime loss, and Game 5 saw the Rangers score first again only to lose 2-1 in OT. With the Capitals just having been shut out the night before at MSG, there was a feeling that they’d throw everything including the kitchen sink at the Rangers in an attempt to blow them out of a very raucous Verizon Center.
But as we now know, that didn’t happen.
Arron Asham of all players opened up the scoring in the first period to quiet the crowd down. Taylor Pyatt and Michael Del Zotto scored goals within minutes of each other in the second period to give the team a cushion. Ryan Callahan added the fourth goal seconds into the third period, and Mats Zuccarello scored the fifth and final goal later on in the period. Lundqvist stopped all 13 shots in the first, all 13 in the second, and all nine shots in the third. The team then went on and were handled by the Boston Bruins, which ultimately led to the firing of John Tortorella.
May 13, 2014
On this date in 2014, the Rangers were looking to win their third game in a row to complete an amazing comeback vs. the Penguins. The Rangers took Game 1 of the series, but proceeded to lose Games 2, 3, and 4 with Game 5 set to take place in Pittsburgh.
It was during this time that Marty St. Louis’ mother passed away, and his status for the potential final game of the season was unknown. He would play Game 5 — a contest the Rangers won 5 to 1 — and scored an goosebump-inducing goal in the first period of Game 6.
As a few have mentioned, today is the anniversary of MSL scoring on Mother's Day, and the CBC call with Bob Cole was really something. "I believe that's gonna be Marty St. Louis. Wouldn't that be something on Mother's Day in New York? Marty, you have come through big time." pic.twitter.com/4twRJhHhV6— Tom Urtz Jr. (@TomUrtzJr) May 11, 2019
This Game 7 was yet another challenge for the Rangers who wanted to live to fight another day, and that’s exactly what they did. I detailed this game and series in great details during our 30 Days of Lundqvist series back in 2017, and feel free to check that out here.
Lundqvist played out of his mind — as was the norm during his amazing prime — and just oozed this “fuck you, we’re winning this series” attitude. As I wrote in the linked story above:
To complete the 3-1 series comeback, Lundqvist had to be out of this worldly, and that is exactly what he was. In the last three games of the series, Lundqvist had three wins with a goals against average of 1.00, and he stopped 102 of 105 shots for a .971 save percentage.
At that point in the playoffs Lundqvist had an overall goals against average of 1.99 and a save percentage of .931. He allowed only 27 goals while stopping 362 of 389 shots. Those numbers are insane and are just a sample of peak Lundqvist.
There’s so many statistics involving Hank which just boggle my mind, and the above are some of my favorite. I don’t know how you look at what he’s done in the playoffs and feel he’s the reason why the Rangers didn’t win a Stanley Cup, but there’s a lot of stupid people out there that believe equally stupid things so I digress.
May 13, 2015
Once again the Rangers found themselves playing in a Game 7, except this time they were lucky enough to be on home ice for a change. It was familiar territory for the Rangers, as they were once again looking to win a third game in a row to advance to the next round.
During this series they lost Game 1, won Game 2, lost Games 3 and 4, and were trailing late in the third period of Game 5 before Chris Kreider tied it, and Ryan McDonagh won it in overtime.
Game 6 was played in Washington on May 10, and the Rangers won by a score of 4-3, even though the Capitals pressed hard scoring two goals in the third period. It was the Henrik Lundqvist show again as he made 42 saves on 45 shots, including 25 saves in the final two period while the Rangers were out shot 28 to 8.
Game 7 saw Alex Ovechkin open the scoring with 7:10 left in the first period which was apropos given the banter he’d had with Lundqvist stretching back to Game 1. The score remained that way until 13:38 of the second period when Kevin Hayes scored on the power play to even things up. From that point on both sides traded chances, but failed to score in regulation. Then came overtime, and for awhile it look as if both sides were going to skate for a bit as Lundqvist and Holtby alike looked sharp. But then came “the goal” which is something that’s been burned into my brain, and will remain there for as long as I live.
"Off the tie up it is Fehr, but it came back to Yandle. Drive by Girardi and a save, rebound... score!!!!!! Stepan! In overtime! The Rangers move on to Tampa.” A lot of things to remember on 5.13 for NYR, including Hank's many G7 games but this is burned in my brain. pic.twitter.com/R86BuPzcUm— Tom Urtz Jr. (@TomUrtzJr) May 13, 2019
Just an incredible moment full of joy and celebration, and one that remains a big highlight of this era of Rangers who did everything but win the big prize. Derek Stepan certainly gets his due for scoring the series clinching goal, but it was another example of Lundqvist answering the call and shutting things down. After allowing a goal to Ovechkin in the first, Lundqvist stopped the 28 shots he faced the remainder of the game.
I hope you enjoyed this little trip down memory lane looking at three games played on May 13 which were a lot of fun to experience. If nothing else, it’s a reminder of the goalie Henrik Lundqvist was and a celebration of some otherworldly goaltending when his team needed it most.
It is also quite possible you are a newer fan who wasn’t following the team at this time, and if that’s the case, I’d track down some of these full games on YouTube because they certainly were entertaining events which would get your heart pumping.
Stats via Hockey-Reference and NHL dot com unless otherwise noted.