Thomas, Lundqvist with Solid Starts
(4/13/12) There is always a lot of chatter prior to the start of the playoffs; however, once the games begin it quickly becomes apparent that all of that talk was just that - talk. Case in point: the Rangers' win over Ottawa. Sure, Ottawa could still easily swing this series, but all of the editorial time that took up the airwaves pointing to Ottawa's dominance on Manhattan Island, and the fact that Ottawa took the season series, appears to have just been filler.
Henrik Lundqvist looked every bit the Vezina candidate in New York's 4-1 thumping of Ottawa in Game 1. At no point did the Senators look like they were in the game, save for the 5 minutes prior to John Tortorella's mid-game timeout. After that it was lights out. Lundqvist stopped 30 of 32 shots, looked positionally sound, and could easily be that goalie that carries his team all the way in 2012. Every Stanley Cup champion always has one of the hottest - if not the hottest - goalie in the tournament and Lundqvist is capable of rising to the occasion. He was named the game's #1 star.
In Boston, the defending Stanley Cup champs got out to a great start. Once again, even though all the hype throughout the broadcast had to do with the outstanding play of rookie Braden Holtby (who stopped 29 of 30 shots), it was Tim Thomas who wound up with the 1-0 overtime shutout. Sure, he faced just about half the shots that Holtby did, but Thomas made key stops when it counted, and we all know that it can be harder to make those saves amidst a shooting drought.