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Sometimes 50 Saves Just Aren’t Enough

Henrik Lundqvist stopped a career-high 50 shots last night and earned a loss. Pittsburgh backup Brent Johnson played just roughly half the game, stopped a grand total of four shots, and earned the victory. Fair? Maybe not, but that's just how tilted the ice was during the third period (and overtime) of the Penguins' 5–4 win at the Garden.

For a period and a half, the Rangers looked like they'd gotten their offensive mojo going, without Marian Gaborik, for the second-straight post-Olympics game: They scored two more goals by crowding the crease — one by Chris Drury and another by Brandon Dubinsky — Artem Anisimov rang a laser of a wrist shot off the post and in, and Michal Rozsival scored his first goal since the Carter administration November. Then the Pens pulled Marc-Andre Fleury from the game, and the Rangers ceased all offensive pressure.

It's probably too late in the season to care about anything but points, but considering this was the same team that let Gaborik drop the gloves not all that long ago in Philly, it was refreshing to see Dubinsky immediately pounce on Sidney Crosby after he took a swipe at Lundqvist in the first period. (Actually, it was nice just to see an American jump Crosby for any reason, after what he did in Vancouver.) We're not sure who deserved to win this one less: The team whose starting goalie allowed four goals on twelve shots, or the team that registered just one shot on goal in the third period and allowed a ridiculous 55 for the game, the most for a Blueshirt opponent since 1991. The tie, we suppose, goes not to the team that starts strong, but to the one that knows how to finish.

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images