It's hard to imagine much was bothering Henrik Lundqvist the way he was playing in one of his finest performances of the year -- a 37-save effort that allowed him to record his career-high 39th win of the season and the Rangers to clinch the top seed in the East -- but he battled through some pain after taking a hard shot to his right forearm late in the second.
With time winding down, Lundqvist made an outstanding diving stop to rob Claude Giroux's one-timer from the left circle, but when the resulting rebound was tapped in at the right post by Wayne Simmonds, he was hurting in more ways than one.
"It was tough. I thought I made the save, and even though it hurt, that felt pretty good," said Lundqvist, whose arm was wrapped in ice. "Then I turned around and it was just a wide open net. Then it hurt even more."
Lundqvist said he wasn't sure if he was going to play in the third and felt lucky not to face many long shots in the period that would have required him to use his stick.
How does he feel now?
"It's stiff. I can't really grip on the outside," he said, motioning to his hand. "It's tough to have balance on the stick. We'll see how it feels in a couple of days. It's probably going to be pretty stiff tomorrow."
Coach John Tortorella was effusive in his praise for Lundqvist. Irrefutably the team's MVP this season, the 30-year-old Swede delivered when they needed him to clinch the Eastern Conference title Tuesday night.
"It's the best I've seen him play in a few weeks here," Tortorella said.