It all started with a huge standing ovation for Henrik Lundqvist. He was given the keys to the city and boy has he earned it. The Rangers came out on top today against Henrik's old team Frolunda, 4-2.
The game started out emotional, but as it progressed it became more and more of a battle to get the win. Although it is pre-season, neither team wanted to lose, especially the Rangers and Lundqvist.
The Rangers got off to a quick start going up 1-0 only about two minutes into the game, as Kris Newbury snapped a wrist shot past Danish netminder, Frederik Andersen. Shortly after that, 17 year old Jonathan Johnson scored to tie the game at 1-1. Lundqvist was sleeping on the play and gave up a big rebound that got whacked into the net.
The Rangers quickly took charge and stole the momentum as they put up two slick goals from the slot in the second period. Michael Del Zotto scored the first and Erik Christensen scored the second, but both were assisted by Mats Zuccarello. Zucc made great passes to both of them for the goals.
Frolunda really turned up the jets in the third period and cut the lead to 3-2 as Mika Pyörälä jammed home a rebound past Lundqvist. The Rangers played a very even keel period though and were able to hold off Frolunda. With only about three minutes left in regulation, Brendan Bell made a very nice loft pass over the defense right to Mike Rupp's stick and Rupper cut in and beat the goalie five-hole to give the Rangers a 4-2 lead that would stick. The Rangers won the game 4-2.
The King made 32 saves on 34 shots and after giving up a bad first goal, he played a stellar game in net. Before signing with the Rangers, Mats Zuccarello won the MVP award in the Elitserien and he enjoyed being back on the big ice surface this evening. He really stood out and had two wonderful assists on Michael Del Zotto's goal and Erik Christensen's goal. Zucc has looked very good all pre-season and is locking up his spot on the Rangers roster more and more each game.
So, Henrik Lundqvist beat his old team 4-2, making 32 saves on 34 shots. I feel really good for him and it was really nice to see the Frolunda crowd cheering him on all game. The Rangers next game is Sunday at 11 AM EST, as they square off against HC Slovan in Bratislava, Slovakia.